ALLEN COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRA_RY
3 1833 01964 3078
Gc 971 .301 M58L pt . 3
London and Middlesex
Historical Society (Ont.)
Transactions ... London and
Middlesex Historical Soc .
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Pttblislteb bi) the ^ojcietg
THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON
CL. T. CAMPBELL, M.D.
THE FIRST BISHOP OF HURON
VERSCHOYLE CRONYN, ESQ.
ipubligbeD be tbe Society
PRESIDENT— A. W. FRASER.
1ST VICE-PRESIDENT-CAPT. T. J. MURPHY.
2ND Vice-President— MISS Macklin.
Secretary-Rev. Geo. M. Cox.
Treasurer— JOHN Dearness.
Curator-Dr. S. Woolverton.
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE-H. MACKLIN, MRS. BRICKBNDEN,
Miss Moore, Thos. Bryan, Cl. T. Campbell, m.D.
AUDITORS- Thos. Bryan, Cl. t. Campbell.
Armstrong, George W.
Becher, H. C.
Beattie, Mayor J. H. A.
Beattie, Major T., M.P.
Beck, Hon. Adam
Bland, R. R.
Brickenden, G. F.
Brickenden, Mrs. G. F.
Brown, Miss Rose
Buchner, U. A.
Cameron, Sheriff D.
Campbell, Dr. CI. T.
Campbell, Mrs. CI. T.
Chapman, J. H.
Cowan, R. K.
Cox, Rev. Geo. M.
Coyne, Miss M. H.
Daly, J. M.
Davidson, S. K.
Dearness, John, M.A.
Duffield, J. C.
Edmunds, P. J.
Elliott, Judge Edward
Fraser, Mrs. Alex.
Gates, H. E.
Gunn, G. C.
Hambly, Jno. H.
Hammond, F. J.
Healey, Mrs. C.
llobbs, Thos. S.
Hoag, J. P., B.A.
Hughes, Dr. F. W.
Hunt, J. A.
Hutchinson, Dr. T. V.
Jeffery, A. O., LL.D.
Jones, J. W.
Judd, J. C, K.C.
Little, Col. J. W.
Landon, F., B.xV.
MacDonald, Dr. P.
Macklin, Miss Stella
Minhinnick, Miss G.
Mitchell, B. A.
Moore, Miss M. A.
Morgan, Aid. A. J.
Murphy, Capt. T. J.
Perrin, F. E., B.A.
Pope, J. K. H.
Priddis, Miss Harriet
Puddicombe, R. W.
Purdom, T. H., K.C.
Raymond, F. W.
Reason, Dr. H. T.
Richter, Aid. J. G.
Scandrett, J. B.
Saunders, W. E.
Smallman, T. H.
Smith, E. B.
Smith, Mrs. E. B.
Stevenson, Andrew, B.A.
Williams, W. T. T.
Winnett, J. W. G.
Woolverton, Dr. S.
Wriffht, S. R.
The London and Middlesex Historical Society was
organized in the year 1901. Its objects are to promote
historical research, and to collect and preserve records and
other historical material that may be of use to the future
historians of our country. Its funds are devoted exclusive-
ly to these objects ; there are no salaried officers.
The Public Library Board grants the Society the free
use of a room for its meetings, which are held on the third
Tuesday evening of each month from October to April, in-
clusive, and to which the public are invited — admission al-
ways free. Membership in the Society is open to any
person interested in its objects, and is maintained by the
payment of an annual fee of fifty cents.
ilxrcnmtiixtn^ xti tlt:e '^ttnbxtn unit
Oct. 19th, 1909— "Elements of Canadian Greatness," by the
Postmaster of London, Ontario (Peter Macdonald, Esq.,
Nov. 16th— At the Normal School, "The Quebec Tercente-
nary," by Miss Fitzgibbon, Secretary of the Women's
Historical Society, of Toronto.
Jan. 17th, 1910 — "The founding and early history of the
Western Medical School," by H. A. McCailum, Esq.,
Feb. 15th — At the Normal School, lecture on "The War of
1812, '13, '14, and Battle of Yorktown," by Barlow
Cumberland, Esq., President Ontario Historical Society.
March 15th — Annual Meeting; Reports of Officers; Report on
the Historical Exhibition at the Western Fair, under the
supervision and valuable aid of Mr. Pratt; on the erec-
tion by the Society of a stone monument with brass
tablet bearing an inscription as a memorial of the "Vic-
toria Disaster" (May 24, 1881) ; on the publication of
Part II. of "Historic Sketches of London and Middle-
sex." Officers elected : — President, Mr. A. W. Eraser ;
Vice-President, Captain T. J. Murphy ; 2nd Vice-Presi-
dent, Mrs. Geo. Brickenden; Secretary, Rev. Geo. M.
Cox ; Treasurer, Mr. J. Dearness ; Curator, Dr. Woolver-
ton. Executive Committee — Miss Priddis, Miss Loug-
heed, Mr. Henry Macklin, Dr. CI. T. Campbell, Mr. Har-
vey, and the officers.
April 19th— " The Life of Lord Durham," by Mr. John
Sept., 1910 — A large and most interesting exhibition was,
by the courtesy of the Western Fair Board, given
throughout the duration of the Western Fair, of objects
of local and general historic value.
TRANSACTIONS OF THE SOCIETY.
October 25th, 1910— "Historic Landmarks," by J. Stewart
Carstairs, Esq., of Toronto.
November 22nd— "Experiences of Messrs. Harry Salter and
Robert Allan in H.M. One Hundredth, Royal Canadian
Regiment about the year 1858," read by President A.
December 20th—" The London Military School," by Secretary
Rev. G. M. Cox.
January 17th — "The Settlement of London" (Part I.), by
Dr. CI. T. Campbell.
February 21st— "Training for Industrial Life," by Mr.
Clarkson W. James, C.S.R., of the Education Depart-
ment, Toronto (read at the Normal School) ; also "The
War of 1812, with special reference to General Proctor's
retreat up the Thames," by Mr. Black, of Chatham.
March 21st— "The Settlement of London" (Part II.) ; also
a report by the Treasurer (Vice-Principal Dearness) of
"The Annual Meeting of The Ontario Historical Society
at Brockville, 1910."
April 20th— "Tecumseh and the War of 1812," by Mr. Nor-
man Gurd, Sarnia, Ont. Annual Meeting, Reports, and
Election of Officers.
BY CL. T. CAMPBELL, M.D.
In the beginning of the last century the capital or judi-
cial seat of the London District was Vittoria, in the County
of Norfolk. This was quite proper at that time, for the
bulk of the population of Southwestern Ontario centred
round Long Point. With the trend of emigration westward,
however, Vittoria was getting to be on the outskirts of the
district, and the people wanted their courts held in a more
central place. Ijuckily, the court house was destroyed by
lire in 1825, and that gave opportunity for a removal.
Col. Talbot naturally wanted St. Thomas chosen; and
a site was even selected for the building, near the present
court house. Delaware also had aspirations, and Mr.
Tiffany offered a site. But the Government selected the
plot reserved by Col. Simcoe at the forks of the Thames
for his capital. It is said that this was largely due to
the influence of Col. Burwell. He had been defeated in an
election for Parliament a short time before, and, as he be-
lieved, mainly through the vote of people on the Talbot
road. If so, he not only gratified his revenge, but received
a job as surveyor of the new district capital. Others, how-
ever, helped to secure the public buildings for "The Forks."
Capt. Matthews, of Lobo, father-in-law of Mr. Goodhue,
and a member of the Legislature; Squires Schofield, Inger-
soll, Teeple, Homer and Springer, all used their influence,
and with success.
As soon as the act was passed authorizing the building
of the court house, enterprising people began to turn their
thoughts towards the new settlement. The first man to
make a move in this direction was Peter McGregor, a High-
land Scotchman, who had been keeping a little tavern and
store near Springbank. In 1826 he took up lot 21, south
side of King and the corner of Ridout, and commenced to
build a hotel. In this he was assisted by Samueli Wood,
from Long Point; and these two were the first settlers in
London. They were followed very shortly by John Yerex
and his brother Abraham, carpenters, who located on the
THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON.
north-west corner of York and Ridout ; and it was in their
house subsequently the first child was born in London-
McGregor's hotel was only a log shanty, and the ac-
commodation for travellers consisted of little more than a
jug of whiskey on a stump at the door. He improved
things later, however; for Mrs. McGregor (formerly a Miss
Poole, of Westminster) was an energetic helpmate, and
doubtless encouraged her husband. Yet it was altogether
inadequate to meet the demands on extra occasions; and
when the first court was held visitors had to go out to
Joseph Flannigan's, some three miles south, to get a bed.
But the hotel accommodations of London were soon
ample. Abraham Carroll, from Oxford County, put up a
respectable hostelry, the Mansion House, on the north side
of Dundas, east of" Ridout, in 1828. A year or two later,
however, he disposed of it; and it passed into the hands,
first, of R. Traverse; then J. O'Dell, and finally John O'Neil,
under whose management it was for a long time the prin-
cipal tavern in London. O'Neil seems to have come to
London from Norfolk County as a deputy court crier and
constable, about 1830 ; he was created a J. P. in 1833, and
was a prominent citizen and a leader of the Orangemen. In
1830 McGregor built a better hotel where the Robinson Hall
building now stands. It was a frame building, subsequently
operated by H. B. Lee ; it was afterwards destroyed by fire.
McGregor moved later to North Street, where he died.
But man could not live by whiskey alone, even in those
bibulous days ; and the wants of the early settlers had to
be met by the general store. Merchants of various kinds
followed close on the heels of Peter McGregor. Among those
were Dennis O'Brien, G. J. Goodhue, Patrick McMannis,
Chas. Henry, and others. Of these, O'Brien and Goodhue
were the principal men. The former, with McMannis and
Henry, was an itinerant merchant; while Goodhue had been
running a store, distillery and ashery near Byron, and
moved into London in 1829.
As these were not only among the earliest set-
tlers, but became notable men in London, a little
place may be given to them here. O'Brien was born in
Fermoy, Ireland, in 1792; came to America in 1811, set-
tling first in Maine. He moved to Canada in 1820, and
travelled with his merchandise through the London district
for several years, finally locating in London in 1827. Here
THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON.
he took up lot 13, south side of Dundas, east of Ridout.
Goodhue was born in the State of Vermont, but in 1822
came to St. Thomas, where he was for some time clerk for
his elder brother. Dr. Jos. Goodhue, a merchant. Subse-
quently he started in business in Westminster, but moved
into London in 1829, locating in lot 20, north-east corner
of Dundas and Ridout Streets.
Both men prospered. O'Brien built the first brick block
on Dundas Street, west of Ridout, and rented it to the
Government, before it was completed, for the use of the sol-
diers who were stationed in London in 1838. During tha
rebellion he seemed to keep on good terms with both par-
ties, and held several lucrative contracts for conveying
goods and material for the military authorities. Goodhue
also dabbled in other things besides his general store. He
kept an ashery on Dundas Street, west of the present -City
Hotel, where the farmers dumped the as'Res they obtained
from burning the forests they had cleared, getting their pay
in store goods. And here the ashes were converted, by
leaching, into " black salts," an important article of com-
merce in those days. He also bought and sold lands,
loaned money on notes and mortgages, acted as magistrate,
and became a member of the Upper House of Parliament in
pre-confederation days. The only public recognition of
O'Brien's labors in London was his appointment as J. P.
They were both active, energetic men, but of very differ-
ent types. O'Brien, medium height, thick-set and sturdy
in appearance, vivacious, good natured, as only an Irishman
can be. A devoted Catholic, he took the lead in every-
thing connected with his church. At the same time, he
took all the enjoyment out of life that he could get. Some-
times his good nature was abused, as is shown by a letter
I have seen, sent to him on Christmas morning of 1835, in
which two of his fellow citizens make most abject apologies
for having created a disturbance at his house the night be-
fore. Evidently the refreshments had been supplied with a
too lavish hand at the Christmas Eve party.
Goodhue, as I remember him, .was less stoutly built and
taller, with a calm, cold eye, and a countenance not much
given to smiles — a business man, with little thought for
anything else. His second wife, who survived him, was a
daughter of Capt. Matthews, of Lobo ; but his politics were
different from those of his father-in-law, for he was a stead-
fast supporter of the Family Compact. This was the more
12 THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON.
notable as he belonged to a family of United States immi-
grants who were political radicals— his relatives, Bigelow
and Dr. Goodhue, of St. Thomas, both attaining some
notoriety in this character. He died worth nearly half a
million— probably one of the wealthiest men of Southern
Ontario at the time. O'Brien made plenty of money also,
but it did not stick so closely to his fingers.
Another early settler was Henry Davis, who came from
New York in 1827, and in 1831 commenced business as a
watchmaker or jeweler on the east side of Ridout, near
York. This was continued for many ;^ears by him, and later by
his son William, though the location was changed to Dun-
Andrew McCormick, from County Down, Ireland, took
up lot 19, north side of York, east of Ridout, in 1829,
first working at his trade as a plasterer, but subsequently
becoming a merchant and a prominent citizen. His son,
Andrew, was mayor of London, and his granddaughter is a
worthy officer of the London Historical Society.
Major Ira Schofield was a magistrate, who had a dis-
tillery down the river. (Nearly all the early settlers seemed
to make whiskey as well as drink it.) He afterwards took
up some land east of the forks, where the Sacred Heart
Academy is now. The first post office in the vicinity of
London was opened in Lawrason's store, a few miles west,
in 1825; but when the court came to London the post office
was moved to Schofield's log house in 1827, and the Major
became postmaster — a position which he held until the office
was again moved to a more convenient place, in Goodhue's
store, in 1829, and given into his charge. Major Schofield
sold his place to L. Lawrason and moved down to North
Street, near Richmond, where he died shortly after.
Others to be briefly mentioned were John Kent, an
Englishman, who came to Canada in 1823, and bought a
farm which extended on both sides of the river, from Rich-
mond Street west, though his residence was on the west
side ; Thomas Waters, a U. E. Loyalist, from New Bruns-
wick, who came to Westminster in 1820, and was the first
owner of the Pond Mills, subsequently taking up land along
Carling's Creek, where Waters' mill (near the present site
of Carling's Brewery) was for some years a landmark ; Levi
Merrick, who built the first bridge at the foot of York
Street, in 1826 ; Ben Higgins, who came from Ireland in
1828, first farming a 10-acre field near Blackfriars' bridge.
THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON.
and later running a hotel on the corner of Dundas and
Clarence Streets ; and Samuel Laughton, the pioneer black-
smith, located on Richmond Street, near Bathurst.
The work of preparing for the accommodation of the
courts commenced in 1826, as soon as the plot was sur-
veyed. In order that there might be no delay, a tempor-
ary frame building was erected on the north-east corner of
the square, and in this the first court of quarter sessions
was held, on January 9th, 1827— Col. Ryerse as chairman.
A writer in The Gore Gazette, Ancaster, July 31st, 1827,
describing London, which he had just visited, states that
this "was a building erected by subscription, and eventually
intended for the district schoolhouse."
Garrett Oakes, of Yarmouth, in his pioneer sketches,
says : "This building was constructed of flat logs, and on
the ground floor was a log partition, to separate the jail
from the jailer's room. The courtroom above was reached
by a stairs from the outside. As soon as the house was
roofed William Parke, the old Vittoria jailer, removed to
London to assume his office in the new building, and I
assisted him to finish the courtroom in a rough manner."
(Ermatinger's Talbot Regime, page 123.)
The court house itself, of course, required more time
The plan was drawn by a Mr. Edwards, of Toronto; and
out of compliment to Col. Talbot, its exterior was designed
in imitation of Malahide Castle, his birthplace. The front
of the building faced the west, overlooking the river. Mr.
John Ewert, of Toronto, secured the contract. He never
became a citizen of London, though he was a property
holder, owning lot 20, on Dundas Street, sold afterwards
to J. G. Goodhue. His partner, Thomas Parke, however,
took charge of the work, became a resident and a prominent
citizen, living at first within the limits, but subsequently
moving across the river into Westminster. In 1833 he was
elected to Parliament as one of the two county members,
serving two terms, during the latter part of which he was
a member of the executive council, with the office of Sur-
veyor-General. Another Toronto man, William Hale, came
to London at this time, and manufactured the brick— suit-
able clay being found at the rear of the present Robinson
Hall, and also across the river, on land subsequently owned
by Walter Nixon.
Among the mechanics who were drawn to the new set-
tlement by prospects of work was Robert Carfras, who lived
THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON.
to a good old age, which he finished on Carfrae Street,
London South. He used to tell that when crossing over
the new bridge at the foot of York Street, plodding along
the rough road, he came to Yerex's cottage, and asked,
"How far is it to London?" "Why, you are in it," was
By 1829 the court house was completed, and the tem-
porary building was removed to the south-west corner of
the lot, where it became the grammar school, familiar to
the old residents of London, many of whom received their
education within its walls. It is now used as a store-
house by the water commissioners.
The court house had a very stately appearance to an
outsider, but its interior arrangements would not be con-
sidered either convenient or sanitary, from a modern point
of view. Of course, it was smaller than the present build-
ing, which was enlarged in 1878, making six turrets instead
of four. There was no separate jail at first, criminals being
locked up in the cell underground. The interior was plain-
ly furnished — the only notable decoration was the finely ex-
ecuted painting of the coat-of-arms, the work of a French
artist by the name of Lefebre.
Both the temporary and permanent court house, how-
ever, saw some lively scenes. In the former the accommo-
dation was so limited that the jury would often retire to
the shade of a neighboring tree to pursue their delibera-
tions. Many of the cases tried were of a comparatively
trifling nature — petty larceny, assault and civic disputes ;
and the penalties inflicted were fines, imprisonment, flog-
ging, and even the stocks, though these latter soon fell into
disuse, and were formally consigned to the mercies of the
Thames in spring flood by Constable Henry Groves, on the
order of the magistrates. The first prisoner is said to have
been a man named Reed, who wels found guilty of stealing
his neighbor's axe, and who served his term of imprison-
ment by being chained to the stump of a tree in the day-
time, and to a block of wood in an imfinished cell at
One of the first cases, however, was a charge of murder.
Thomas Pomeroy, a sheriff's officer, had been killed by a
man named Burleigh. The murderer was promptly cap-
tured, tried, sentenced and executed in three days after his
trial. Quick justice ; but then the accommodation for
THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON.
prisoners was limited. And perhaps it was thought well
to put the condemned out of misery as soon as possible.
The starting of the judicial machinery in London in the
twenties rendered it advisable for the officers of the court
to make this city their home. For a few years most of
them continued to reside at Vittoria, visiting London only
when required. Sheriff Rappalje never came. He used to
send his son to act for him as deputy. There was no
resident sheriff here until Norfolk was set oft as a separate
district in 1837, and James Hamilton was appointed to
While the Chairman of the Board of Quarter Sessions
frequently acted as judge, the first regular appointee for the
district was James Mitchell. He was not a lawyer, but a
highly-educated man, who came out from Scotland with Dr.
Strachan. For a time he was tutor to James Hamilton's
children ; was afterwards given charge of the district gram-
mar school at Vittoria, and finally appointed judge in, 1819.,
He made a very eflicient judge, few of his decisions being
overruled. As years and infirmities increased, Wm. Young,
an English lawyer, from Caradoc, was appointed junior
judge ; but he, dying shortly after, Mr. Williams, an
Englishman, who came from the West Indies, took his
place. Mitchell remained the senior judge as long as he
lived ; but he was for some years utterly unfit for any
work, owing largely to the reckless habits, characteristic
of so many of our pioneers. He died in 1844, at his home
on York Street, near Ridout, and was succeeded by Judge
The clerk of the court was Col. J. B. Askin. He was
born in Detroit, of mixed Irish and Indian blood, and was
appointed to ofiice while the court was being held at Vit-
toria. He is said not to have been the most agreeable
man to deal with. The characteristics of the two races
which met in him seemed to counteract each other. The
volatile nature of the Celt had to contend with the serious-
ness and impassivity of the Indian. AVhile he was active
to the extent of fussiness, the cold indifference of the
aborigine modified the levity of the Irishman. He took
everything seriously, and got excited over it. He could
not imderstand a joke; and that was probably the reason
why, during the rebellion, the young men used to play
tricks on him., and send him off on a "wild goose chase"
after imaginary rebels.
THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON.
The treasurer of the district was John Harris, an
Englishman, who had been in the naval service, but had
retired on half pay, and was living near Long Point. A
thorough John Bull, afraid of nothing, he would take the
most extreme measures for what he thought was right. His
wife was the daughter of Col. S. Ryerse, and made Eldon
House (built in 1835) the social center of London. Sir
James Alexander, in 1812, said there was no society in
London, oniy three or four families; and he especially eulo-
gized the hospitality of Eldon House. Mr. Harris took a
very active part in 1837-38 in support of the Govern-
ment, though as a volunteer without any official position.
His connection with the "CaroUne" episode is to-day known
to very few outside of the family. He was at Niagara at
the time that MacKenzie and his United States sympathiz-
ers were utilizing Na\'y Island as a base of supplies, and
conveying men and munitions to it in the Caroline. His
experience as a naval officer showed the situation favorable
for "cutting out" the Caroline. He suggested it to Col.
McNab ; Capt. Drew was called in consultation; and the
attempt was decided on. Mr. Harris accompanied the ex-
pedition, which was successful, and the captvired vessel went
over the falls that night. On account of Mr. Harris' posi-
tion as a half-pay officer, it was deemed inexpedient to
make public the fact that he was on active duty, and
nothing was said at the time about his share in the enter-
prise. He was subsequently treasurer of Middlesex, and
also of London town, and died at his home in 1850.
Col. Mahlon Burwell, the registrar of deeds, was born
in New Jersey, February 18th, 1783. Educated as a land
surveyor, he came when a young man to Canada, and
through Col. Talbot's influence had nearly all the Govern-
ment work in the district. He was appointed registrar in
3 812, was a member of Parliament for the county and once
for London, and became a colonel in the militia during the
rebellion. He does not appear to have seen any fighting,
but was taken from a sick bed during a Yankee raid, and
held prisoner in the United States for several months. He
never lived in London. The little brick building on the
Southwold town line, in which he kept the registry office,
is, I think, still standing. He died on the 25th of Jan-
The other officers were Gideon Bostwick, court crier ;
John O'Neil, deputy crier and constable ; Samuel Park,
jailer, and Wm. K. Cornish, deputy clerk.
THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON
Peter Schram, a German, came to Middlesex in 1818,
and was high constable for the county under Sheriff Rap-
pelje. He was an early settler in I^ondon, and was suc-
ceeded in office by Henry Groves, born in Sussex, England,
1806, emigrating to Canada in 1830, and settling in Lon-
don in 1882. Mr. Groves had a chair factory on York
Street, west of Ridout. He subsequently held the office of
court crier and high constable, and died in 1887.
As some compensation for the enforced removal of the
court officers from Vittoria, they received grants of five
acres each in the vicinity of London, all river lots. The
Harris lot is still occupied by the family. Judge Mitchell's
was further north ; Burwell, Askin and Hamilton located
south and west of the town.
The pioneer lawyer who practiced in London was John
Tenbroeck, who moved here from Vittoria. He was of a
U. E. L. family — Captain Jacob Tenbroeck having fought
for the mother land in the American revolution, and re-
ceiving a grant of 300 acres in Grantham Township, where
his great-grandson died this year. John was a man of
marked ability, marred only by the common failing of his
contemporaries, which apparently rendered his financial
dealings sometin\es unsatisfactory to his creditors. In
those days, in civil cases, the judge received a fee of one
dollar, and the jury one dollar and fifty cents — a York
shilling apiece. It is said that when Tenbroeck had charge
of a case the jury would not bring in a verdict, nor the
court pronounce judgment, until the money was paid.
Other pioneer lawyers were Nelon Stuart (noted princi-
pally for his duel with an officer of the 22nd in later
tiays) ; Stewart Jones, one of a prominent Brockville fam-
ily of that name ; and W. K. Cornish, father of Mayor
London in 1830 may be described by a quotation from
a book entitled "The Canadas," published by Andrew
Picken, in England, 1832, compiled chiefly from notes by
John Gait, the Canada Company's general manager. He
says : "The town is quite new, not containing above 40 or
50 houses, all of bright boards and shingles. The streets
and gardens are fuli of black stumps." At this time the
population did not exceed 200, but was rapidly increasing.
Perhaps one of the most prominent arrivals after the
court house was built was John Scatcherd, from Wyton,
18 THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON.
England ; a tall, burly man, who came to Nissouri in 1820,
but removed to London in 1830. He opened a store on
the north side of Dundas Street, east of Ridout, and was
the first merchant to sell hardware. After 1835 he re-
turned to Nissouri, became warden of the county and a
member of Parliament. His son, Thomas, became a lead-
ing citizen of London, a lawyer, and member for North
Scatcherd's brother-in-law, James Farley, an Irishman
from Armagh, came to London with him as a partner in
his business. He continued the business when Scatcherd
left, removing the store, after a time, to the south side of
Dundas, east of Clarence, about where Bennett's Theatre
stands ; was on the school board and the village council ;
studied law with his nephew, Thomas, and was appointed
clerk of the peace for the new County of Elgin. He died
in St. Thomas in 1875.
Another Irishman, Samuel Glass, came to Westminster
in 1819, and settled in London in 1831 as a dealer in flour
and grain. Two of his sons became noted citizens; David,
member of Parliament for East Middlesex, and William,
Lawrence Lawrason was born at Ancaster, August 10,
1803. His father was a U. E. Loyalist from New Jersey.
At first clerking in the store of James Hamilton (after-
wards sheriff of Middlesex), he subsequently removed with
his father's family westward, and opened a store at Hall's
Mills, and there a post office was opened. In 1832 he came
to London and joined Mr. Goodhue in business. He was
ii,n active supporter of the Family Compact, an officer of
the local militia, a well-known magistrate, and for a coupie
of years member of Parliament. In 1847 he built for a
residence a large brick house, which nov.' forms the nucleus
of the Sacred Heart Academy. He became very wealthy,
but subsequently lost the greater part of his property. He
was appointed the first police magistrate of London in
1865, an office which he held until his death, August 14th,
1882. His wife was a daughter of William H. Lee. One
surviving child is Mrs. E. Baynes Reid, of Victoria, B.C.
Joseph Webster, who came in 1831, was the first man
to open a tailor shop. For many years he carried on a
business, which became quite extensive, about where the
Parisian Laundry now is on Dundas.
THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON. 19
Donald McPherson, a Scotch farmer from Adelaide, set-
tled himself in London in 1832, building a house on Ridout
Street. His daughter, the widow of Mr. Gunn, is still
In the earliest days of London there were no regular
religious services here. Rev. James Campian, of Niagara,
celebrated mass in Dennis O'Brien's house in 1827 — probably
the first clergyman to visit the settlement — while Rev. E.
Boswell, of the Church of England in St. Thomas, held
service here in 1829.
In 1832 a number of discharged British soldiers were
sent out to Adelaide Township. With them came some
Irish gentlemen and their families— the Cursons, Blakes,
Radcliffes, and others. In November of that year Rev.
Benjamin Cron;yTi came from Ireland with his wife and two
children. Their destination was Adelaide Township. But
wearied with the long, rough ride, they stopped in London
to rest at the Mansion House. On the Sunday he held
service, and on Monday a deputation of church adherents
urged him to remain, and he consented. Lots 21 and 22,
on Dundas Street, being the north-west corner of Ridout
and the adjacent lot, had been set apart for the use of the
Anglican Church in the name of Bishop Stewart, and were
being used as a burial ground, but services were held in the
schoolhouse and elsewhere. It is said that steps were
taken towards building a church here, but it was finally
decided to go eastward, and the present site of St. Paul's
London Township had been made a circuit of the Wes-
leyan Methodist Church in 1823, with Robt. Carson in
charge. Itinerant preachers of this body visited London
as soon as there were any people here; and in 1833 a meet-
ing-house was erected, a rough-cast building, on the south-
west corner of Ridout and Car ling Streets.
Though the population at this time would appear to
have been too small to support a newspaper, yet an at-
tempt at journalism was made in 1831 by E. A. Talbot.
This gentleman was a son of Richard Talbot, who settled
in London Township in 1818 with an Irish colony. He
was a well-educated young man, who had written a book
on Canada in 1824. "The London Sun." as he called his
paper, shone for a couple of years, and then went down in
darkness. After this failure, Talbot removed to Niagara,
and issued a paper there, but he did not succeed. About
THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON.
1838 he returned to London, in poor health, and poorer
finances, with a large familj^ to support. His Orange
cronies— John O'Neil and others — helped him all they could;
and in 1839 he tried journalism again, with the Freeman's
Journal. But ill-fortime still attended him; his last ven-
ture failed, - and he did not live long after it.
Freeman Talbot, a member of the same family, came in-
to London as a very young lad, and has .stated that he
was engaged as a surveyor when the ground was being
chained for the court house. He was well known in the
early days; and died only a short time ago in Strathcarol,
But while London was getting some valuable additions
to its population about this time, there were also some of
an inferior character. Among the large number of emi-
grants coming into Canada from Britain some were of the
poorer classes, who came out imder very unsanitary condi-
tions. As a result, epidemic diseases made their appear-
ance in the summer of 1832 ; and London received its first
The village was ill fitted to meet such a foe. Appa-
rently it was in a very healthy situation. The court house
and surrounding buildings were grouped together on the
verge of a lofty plateau. Dundas Street, instead of slop-
ing to the river as it now does, ended abruptly at the top
of a high hill. Theoretically no better location could be
desired. If Governor Simcoe had been able this year to
repeat his visit from Detroit to London he would have been
charmed with the sight. Coming up the river towards the
forks, Malahide Castle, with its towers and turrets, clearly
outlined against the summer sky, with the smaller houses
grouped beneath the shelter of its walls; the clank of anvil
and the thud of axe; the lowing of cattle and the hum of
busy men in the market on the bluff, would have made him
think his early visions had materialized, and that the capi-
tal of his Province was outstretched before him.
But — and there is always a but — the conditions were
most unsanitary. There was no provision for drainage.
The streets were of the most primitive description, without
even ditches to carry off surplus water. There was a
swamp on Richmond Street, between Queen's Avenue and
Dundas. On the flats on the west and south-west boimda-
ries of the village mud puddles gave off poisonous efluvia.
Carling's Creek, as we now call it, was a stream large
THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON. 21
enough to run Waters' mill at its mouth; but a big mill
pond reached from Richmond Street west to Talipot, and
in the summer drouths was very unhealthy, as these ponds
usually are. A smaller and more sluggish stream ran be-
tween York and Bathurst. The v/ells were open, protected
only by a curbing, the water being drawn by the old oaken
bucket; while pigpens, cow sheds and other unsanitary con-
cerns were usually near enough to let their sewage filter
through the soil and contaminate the water.
So far as medical assistance was concerned, there was
probably enough. Archibald Chisholm was the first physi-
cian in London. I have been unable to learn much of him,
except that he was a young man, born near St. Thomas
in 1795, and died in London on September 20th, 1830.
His son Hiram was in business here for some years with
L. Lawrason. More is known of Dr. Elam Stimson, who
came from the United States in 1823, and took up his
abode in London in 1828. He must have been here near-
ly as early as Dr. Chisholm. A tall man of fine presence,
good education and great mental ability, he would have
been one of London's leading citizens had he remained. But
he lost his wife and younger child by cholera, and in 1833
he left the scene of his unpleasant experience and removed
to St. George, where he died in 1869.
Col. Talbot, writing to his friend, Mr. Robinson, on the
8th July, 1832, says : "The weather last week has been
very hot, and I am sorry to say that a few persons have
died after a few hours' sickness, which the quacks pro-
nounce as cholera." Doubtless he was thinking of Dr.
Stimson, who, coming from the United States, would cer-
tainly be a quack in his eyes. However, he had hopes for
the future, because he says : "Within the last week I have
had an addition of two regular-bred physicians — Dr. Don-
nelly, of the navy, and Dr. Rolls, a very gentlemanly young
man, who practiced in Old London for some years."
The quacks were right ; there was no doubt the disease
was cholera, and Dr. Donnelly himself fell a victim. I do
not think Dr. Rolls came to London ; at all events, we find
him shortly after located in St. Thomas. Dr. H. D. Lee
came to London about this time; was appointed Govern-
ment medicai officer in 1833; became a leading citizen, and
died of typhus in 1847 — taking the infection while looking
The cholera, as I have said, spread all over the country
this summer. In London many were attacked and a num-
22 THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON.
ber died— how many it is impossible to say, as there was
no system of registration in those days. But it was a
serious time, for the pest only subsided as the high sum-
mer temperature went down with the approach of winter.
The outbreak of the cholera, however, did not stop the
influx of settlers in London. During the next two years
valuable additions were made to the Forest Town. It
would be impossible to mention all ; the names of many
have been long forgotten and records of their lives have
long since vanished. With some, however, we are more
familiar, and a brief reference to these may be given.
John Jennings was a peripatetic merchant, who sold
goods around the coimtry ;, he practically settled in London
about 1832 or a little later. He had a distillery across
the river from the Eldon House; a store near the corner of
Dundas and Ridout, and kept a livery stable as well. He
was a useful all-round citizen, and occupied important posi-
tions in later years.
Ed. Raymond was born in Buffalo, and settled here in
1832, and began business as a furrier in 1833. Mrs. Ray-
mond, the daughter of Mr. Durante a Congregational min-
ister, was for many years principal music teacher and
organist in town.
Geo. Watson, an Englislunan, builder by trade, came in
1833; lived for many years on King Street, about the pres-
ent No. 155, and died only a few years ago.
The year 1834 saw a large number of new arrivals ;
among them were the following :
Henry Beltz, a native of , the United States, was a bridge
builder, and in partnership with one McPherson, had charge
of nearly all of that kind of work after his arrival. His
son, Edmund, learned the trade of furrier with Raymond ;
began business in 1850, and held it until he died a few
J. W. Van Wormer, from the States, a turner by trade ;
his wife, a daughter of Jailor Parke, was drowned while
driving through the river at the foot of Ridout Street.
Leonard Perrin, also from across the border, originally
a blacksmith, but became a baker, having his shop on Dun-
das Street, near the north-west corner of Talbot; had the
contract for supplying troops with bread in later years,
THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON. 23
and thus paved the way for one of the leading business
concerns of our city to-day.
As the people began to increase in number, they gave
evidence of energy and enterprise that their descendants
have not equalled. They started to build a railroad. Even
though they did not succeed at the time, it only showed
that they had more courage than money.
The first railroad corporation in Canada seems to have
been the Champlain and St. I^awrence Railroad Company,
chartered in 1832 — only a few years after the first loco-
motive was constructed in England by Stevenson. The
object of the road seems to have been to connect Montreal
with the nearest navigable water to New York; and in 1836
it commenced operations, running from St. John, near
Montreal, to Laprairie. It was a wooden road, and oper-
ated by horse-power. It was the first link in the chain
that afterwards became the Grand Trunk Railway.
London was a small place compared with Montreal, but
it was going to have its railroad if it could. On March
6th, 1834, a company, called the London and Gore Rail-
road, was chartered by the Legislature of Upper Canada
(4 Wm. IV., Chap. 29). The following persons were the
incorporators : Edward Allan Talbot, Thomas Parke.
George J. Goodhue, Allan Napier McNab, Colin Campbell
Ferrie, John McFarlane, Wm. Robertson, Thomas Gibbens,
Lawrence Lawrason, Dennis O'Brien, John Scatcherd, Jas.
Hamilton, Joseph Cowley, Nicholas Gaffeny, Joseph L.
O'Dell, John O'Neil, James Farley, John Jennings, Harvey
Shepherd, John Kent, Albert S. O'Dell, Henry Shennick.
Hiram D. Lee, William E. Lee, Burley Hunt, Nathan Grif-
fith, Andrew Drew, Robert Alway, Peter Carroll, Charles
Duncombe, Thomas Horner, Oliver Turner, E. A. Spalding,
Geo. W. Whitehead, Peter Bamberger, Manuel Over filed,
James McFarlane, James Bell Ewart, Thomas J. Horner,
Joseph Grier, G. W. Bremyer, Nathan Jacobs, Charles
Goulding, Thomas D. Howard, Thomas J. Jones, James
Ingersoll, John Young, John Wier, A. McDonnell, William
Bull Sheldon, Ebenezer Stinson, Samuel Mills, Peter Hun-
ter Hamilton, Abraham K. Smith, Joseph Holestone, Thos.
Taylor, Henry Carrol, Calvin Martin, James Ritchie, E.
Jackson, Jedediah Jackson, Welcome Y^ale, Luke V. Soper,
Ira Schofield, Mahlon Burwell, Andrew Miller, David Archi-
bald McNab, William Notman, Matthew Crooks, Oliver Tif-
fany, Plumer Burlej', George T. Tiffany, Edward Vanderlip,
24 THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON.
Oliver G. Tiffany, William Case, A. Smith, John Law and
More than half of these people came from London and
immediate vicinity, the others from Hamilton and inter-
mediate points. The Londoners, however, were the leaders
in the movement. The company received authority to con-
struct a road of wood or iron, commencing at London and
extending first to Burlington Bay, and then westward to
the navigable waters of the Thames and Lake Huron. It
may be noted that early railroads were looked upon simply
as portages to connect navigable waters. All the first roads
chartered in Canada were of this description. London was
made the headquarters, and the first meeting was appointed
to be held in this town on the first Monday of April, 1834,
providing £25,000 of stock had been subscribed. If not,
then a special meeting was to be called whenever that
amount was subscribed. The limit of stock was fixed at
£100,000, issued in 3,000 shares of £12 10s. each. This
amount to be doubled when construction from London com-
Government ownership of railroads was evidently looked
upon by some people as a possibility, for by clause 22 of
this act, power was taken for the Government after 40
years, to buy out the company at 20 per cent, premium,
providing the road had been paying a dividend of 12 per
The promoters of this company found some difficulty in
getting money, and the preliminary meeting for organiza-
tion was not held until June, 1885, when a number of the
shareholders met at "O'Neill's Inn," or the Mansion House,
situated on Dundas Street, about where Perrin's biscuit fac-
tory now is. Thomas Cronyn was chairman, and AVm.
Rol)inson, secretary. It was found that many of the sub-
scription lists that had been issued were not in, and it was
impossible to tell who were the shareholders to any great
extent. Those present, however, proceeded to organize, and
elected seven directors, the understanding being that several
of these would make way for others, so that the board
would be fairly representative of the different localities in
which other shareholders resided. Difficulties still continu-
ing in the way of obtaining the money, the directors of the
company approached the Legislature again, and obtained an
amended act on March 6th, 1837 (7 Wm. IV., Chap. 61).
This act changed the title of the road to Great Western
THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON. 25
Railroad Company, increased the stock to £500,000, and
made provision for a Government loan equal to three times
the amount subscribed — the loan not to commence until
£1,250 of stock had been taken up, and the maximum of
the loan not to exceed £200,000.
Authority was also given the Canada Company to con-
nect Goderich with this line. The Niagara and Detroit
Rivers Company had been organized a short time before,
and it was also given authority to connect with the Great
Western. In order to protect the Government in its loan,
provision was taken by another act at the same session
(7 Wm. IV., Chap. 62), to levy a tax on the districts of
Gore, London and Western, in order to make up any deficit
in the interest on the debentures issued by the Government
for the purpose of assisting the railway. However, with
all the help offered by the Government, this enterprise
seemed to have been too big a scheme for the promoters to
liandle. The money was not forthcoming, and the enter-
But the Gore was not the oniy railway enterprise start-
ed in London about this time. A man named Henry Dalley
introduced a scheme for a road from London to Detroit.
He was a genial, plausible man, a type of the class of
promoters. He interested a number of people, especially
in the country districts; collected considerable money; and
sent out surveying parties. Some work was evidently done,
for the first engineers engaged in locating the Canada
Southern Railway in after years, found the marks of his
surveys. Whether or not Dalley really intended to build
the railway, is, of course, uncertain. But the enterprise
fell through, with disastrous consequences to those who had
trusted him. One of these was Wm. Huggins, a West
Indian planter, who came to Yarmouth in 1833, but re-
jTioved to London a few years later. He brought suit
against Dalley and got judgment — but no money. So com-
plete was his financial loss that he .worked for a time as a
laborer at the building of the Barracks; he failed in health,
and, after a long illness, died in 1851. Dalley meanwhile
went to New York and made a fortune in seliing patent
medicines. In his prosperity .he remembered his less fortu-
nate associates, and sent Huggins a good supply of Dal-
About this time the growing importance of London was
recognized by the Provincial authorities, and it was con-
26 THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON.
stituted an electoral division. The census showed the
population to be slightly over 1,000. Previously it had
been part of the county, which returned two members. The
first election was held in 1836— candidates being Mahlon
Burweli and Jno. Scatchard. Freeman Talbot is my
authority for saying that the vote was a tie — 37 for each ;
the returning officer, being an appointee of the Government,
did his duty by voting for the Government candidate. The
total vote cast seems very small to us ; but it must be re-
membered that none could vote but property holders who
had their patent from the crown, or had the deeds for their
land duly executed, and the fee for a crown deed was £8.
Great numbers of the early settlers simply had their names
entered on Col. Talbot's map, and while this secured them
their lots, it did not give them a clear title under which
they could vote. It was evident, however, that this elec-
tion was closely contested. In politics, London seems to
have been ready to put up a good fight from the very first
day it got the chance.
London was now beginning to attract attention. Its
people had shown a degree of public spirit in railroad mat-
ters, greater in proportion to population than any place in
Canada. A branch of the Bank of Upper Canada was
opened in 1835, on the corner of King and Ridout Streets,
with Richard Richardson, manager. Travellers passing
through the country helped to advertise the town. Some-
times the picture drawn by the visitor was not very flat-
tering. Mrs. Jamieson, wife of the Vice-Chancellor of the
Province, was one of those who did not see much beauty
in the little village, according to her description in her
"Summer Rambles and Winter Studies."
In 1837 she passed through this section on a visit to
Col. Talbot, and remaining over a day at the hotel, she
took a walk through the village. She says : "It now
contains more than 200 frame or brick houses; and there
are inany more building. The court house seemed the
glory of the townspeople. As for the style of architecture,
I may not attempt to describe it, but a gentleman informed
me, in rather equivocal phrase, that it was 'somewhat
Gothic' There are five places of w^orship for the Episco-
palian, Presbj'terian, Methodist, Roman Catholic and Bap-
tist. The church is handsome. There are also three or
four schools, and seven taverns. The Thames is very
beautiful here; and navigable for boats and barges.
THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON. 27
" The population consists principally of artisans — and
blacksmiths, carpenters and buikiers are flourishing. There
is, I fear, a good deal of drunkenness and profligacy ; for
though the people have work and wealth, they have neither
education nor amusements. Besides the seven taverns,
there is a number of little grocery stores, wTiich are, in
fact, drinking houses. And though a law exists which for-
bids the sale of spirituous liquor in small quantities by any
but licensed publicans, they easily contrive to evade the
"The Government should be- more careful in the choice of
district magistrates. While I was in I^ondon a person who
had acted in this capacity was carried from the pavement
" I find the women in the better class lamenting over
the want of all society except in the lowest grades, in man-
ners and morals. For those who have recently emigrated
and are settled in the interior, there is absolutely no social
But the superficial observations of this versatile and
volatile Irish lady, as she flitted over the country, are not
to be taken too seriously. The defects that she noticed
were common to the times, and were no worse in London
than in Toronto. No doubt, however, there was some jus-
tice in her opinion that lack of legitimate and innocent
amusements seriously affected the moral tone of the early
During the years 1834 to 1839 there were some notable
additions to our citizenship, of whom a few may be men-
Murray Anderson was born at Lundy's Lane, the ground
on which the battle was fought having been the property of
his father. l^earning the trade of a tinsmith, he came to
London in 1835, and lived here for a year or two, then
went home ; but he returned and took up his trade and be-
came a permanent resident. He opened a tin and stove
store on Dundas Street, about where Perrin's factory is,
and in later years established a foundry on the south-west
corner of Dundas and Adelaide Streets. He took a prom-
inent part in public affairs, and was the first mayor of
the Citv of London in 1855. He died here March 5th,
28 THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON.
Wm. Barker came here from Nottingham, England, in
1835. He was a man of superior education, and especially
noted as a student of astronomy. He had charge of the
business of General Renwick, who owned considerable real
estate in this locality. From the very first he became a
leading citizen, and was for many years a member of vari-
ous municipal bodies. He built Mount Hope, on the north
end of Richmond Street, the cupola on which made a very
good observatory. He was the principal organizer of our
first gas company. His son is a member of Parliament for
The principal lawyer at this period was John Wilson,
born in Paisley, Scotland, in 1809. He came to Canada
as a boy, worked on a farm in Lanark, then studied law,
and in 1834 settled in London. He at once obtained a
lucrative practice, for with his thorough knowledge of law,
he possessed a shrewd common sense; a free and easy oratory,
and a warm sympathy for the vmfortunate. His office was a
school for many who afterwards became prominent lawyers.
Among these was H. C. R. Becher, who came here in
1886; a cultured young Englishman of good family, who en-
tered Wilson's office as a student, and when he left it to
practice his profession he was well equipped for the work.
These two men were the leaders of the bar in London for
As a young lad I had occasion to see them frequently in
the fifties. They were men in marked contrast. Wilson
was burly, with coarse, ruddy features, careless in dress,
offhand in manner, sometimes rude in speech. Becher was
tall and slim, with sallow complexion, gentlemanly in ap-
pearance, smooth spoken and courteous. Both were prom-
inent in public affairs, but with imequal success. Wilson
represented London in Parliament, where he took a very
active part, and finally finished his career on the bench.
Becher was defeated by Morrill when he ran for mayor,
and by E. Leonard for Parliament ; his only public office
was a seat on the village council.
D. J. Hughes, from Devonshire, England, came to Mont-
real in 1832, where his father died. Adopted by a friend
of the family, he came to London in 1835; studied law in
Joiin Wilson's office. After being called to the bar, he
moved to Woodstock in 1842, returning to London in 1847,
entering into partnership with Wilson, who had married his
THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON. 29
sister. In 1853 he was appointed first county judge of
Elgin; held that office for 50 years, and still resides in St.
Thomas, at the advanced age of 90. His recollection of
men and things in the early days has been of material
service in the preparation of this sketch.
Capt. John Moore, of the 30th Regiment, retired from
service and took up his residence in London, near the site
of the present gas house, in 1834. His son, Charles, en-
tered into partnership with Richard Smith and E. S.
Lyman, as general merchants, including in their stock a
good supply of drugs. Possibly this latter fact may have
turned his attention to medicine, for when Dr. A. Anderson
settli?d here in 1837, and married a daughter of Capt.
Moore, Charles entered his brother-in-law's office, and after
graduation followed his profession here till his death, leav-
ing his son to succeed him.
Dr. Anderson purchased the Goodhue house, near the
site of the present Sandringham apartments. He subse-
quently built Walmington house across the street. Here
his widow still lives.
In 1835 a young English chemist, John Salter, was
employed in Smith & Moore's store to look after the drug
department, but two years later' he commenced business for
himself as a druggist, and physician opposite the court
house. Dr. Salter was well known for many years; he was
a highly-educated anan, and a prominent contributor to the
James Givens commenced practicing law in St. Thomas,
but in 1835 he was appointed solicitor for the Bank of
Upper Canada, and removed to London, and became prom-
inent in municipal affairs and legal circles. He built the
long low house on the river bank, near the York Street
bridge, which is still standing. He was subsequently ap-
pointed county judge.
Alexander Mackenzie, born in Indiana, of Highland
Scotch parentage, came to Canada when a young man,
practicing medicine in St. Thomas for a time. When a
batallion was raised in London in 1838, he was appointed
a surgeon, and came here, where he resided until his
death a few years ago.
Simeon Morrill came from the United States and ob-
tained three lots on the south-eastern corner of York and
Hidout Streets. He operated a large tannery, together
30 THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON.
with the manufacture of shoes. He was the first employer
of labor in London on anything like an extensive scale,
and always paid his wages In cash, something very unusual
in those days. He was further noted as the pioneer pro-
hibitionist in this city. But though temperance was not
popular, he commanded unusual respect from the people,
and was repeatedly elected to municipal positions.
John Smythe, from England, was a soldier in the 95th
Kegiment. and fought under Wellington at Waterloo. He
came to London in 1838, and was first a merchant, subse-
quently opening the Waterloo Hotel on Richmond Street,
for many years a local landmark. He was a pioneer in
the volunteer movement, and was, I believe, captain of the
first rifle company organized in the district. His sons have
both been well known as good citizens and enthusiastic mili-
Elijah Leonard was born in Syracuse, N.Y., September
10th, 1814, and learned the iron-foundry business with his
father. The family removed to Canada in 1830, the father
taking charge of a furnace in the Long Point district, at
what is now known as NormandRle. Here bog iron was
found, and worked up extensively. In 1834 Mr. Leonard
started a foundry in St. Thomas; and in 1838 removed to
London, where he commenced the business now known by
the name of "E. Leonard & Sons." The first foundry was
on Ridout Street, near Fullarton. Mr. Leonard was mayor
of London in 1857, and in 1862 was elected to the Legis-
lative Council of Canada for the Malahide Division. At
confederation he was appointed a Senator for the Domin-
ion, serving until his death, in London, May 14th, 1891.
I can only mention by name a few more of the pioneers
of that period : Thos. Moore, a tall Irish doctor ; Hugh
Stevenson, a Scotch Presbyterian, who kept a small hotel
on Ridout Street ; Frank and William Pope, Englishmen,
builders; S. McBride, tinsmith; Thomas Campbell, builder;
John Holden, stonemason ; William Balkwill, Englishman,
who took over Flannigan's Hotel (where the City Hotel is
now)— the Hope Hotel it was then called; and his brother,
John, who started a brewery, subsequently operated by
Eccles & Labatt, and now known as Labatt's Brewery ;
Thomas Hiscox, an English farmer, who was despatch
bearer for the Government, conducted a freight and passen-
ger stage, carried mails, and kept a hotel;, William Elliott.
a lawyer, and subsequently county judge, a highly educated
THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON. 31
gentleman, interested alike in law, literature, education and
These were only a few of our pioneers who deserve hon-
orable mention. They were not perfect men ; many of them
had their faults — they could drink and fight — but they were
strong men, with energy and enthusiasm, which their suc-
cessors may well envy. Their virtues were their own ;
their vices and follies were those of the time. But they
did good work for the little village they foimded in the
forest, and we have no cause for shame when we recall
The troublous times of 1837-38 affected London to some
extent, though less than other localities. Our historians,
so far, are still somewhat too partisan in their views of
the actors in what is usually spoken of as "the rebellion;"
and the Conservatives and Liberals of to-day, inheriting the
traditions of their political ancestors, are still inclined to
view the past with eyes that can only distinguish black and
white, but not the more neutral shades. As a matter of
fact, the Tories and Reformers of rebellion times were
neither so entirely black, nor so entirely white, as they
have been painted. Many of the prominent pioneers of
Upper Canada — U. E. Loyalists, as they are called — brought
with them from the LTnited States that ultra loyalty in
which the recollection of personal injuries inflicted by the
victorious republicans was a prominent factor. They were,
of course, really loyal to Britain; but many of them would
have submitted to the altered form of government had they
not been persecuted by the people of the United States,
who confiscated the property and imperilled the lives of
their Tory fellow-citizens. No wonder that when the lat-
ter came to Canada they brought with them, not only their
British loyalty, but an intense dislike for, and distrust of,
the people and the institutions they had left behind. Any
movement in favor of civil or religious freedom, was, in
their eyes, a step towards rebellion and annexation. Who-
ever desired any change from the established order of things
was a prospective if not an actual rebel. As they them-
selves (or, at least, their leaders) were the prominent men
of the Province, and the friends and covmsellors of each
successive governor, with excellent opportunities for aoquir-
ing offices and appropriating lands, they naturally consid-
ered the general situation perfectly satisfactory. The
faults of which others complained were not so apparent to
them ; and they might be pardoned if they heard the voice
32 THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON.
of the detested Yankee in every complaint that was uttered.
But the demand for reform was certainly justified.
There was no government of the people in the interests of
the people. Municipal institutions were unknown. Nom-
inally the Legislature ruled everything; but in fact the pop-
vdar chamber was powerless. The Governor or his Council
could, and frequently did, ignore the acts of the Assembly.
At first the settlers outside of the little towns were too
busy on their farms, striving to conquer the forest, utilize
the soil, and secure a means of sustenance, to agitate for
reforms, or struggle for political freedom. But this could
not last. Agitation was sure to come. It came with
Crourlay in 1817' — as true a loyalist as any Tory of his day.
They crushed him, and drove him out of Canada. Other
agitators followed ; Mackenzie, Rolph, Buncombe and their
associates renewed the fight, and made their voices heard
in the press and in the Legislature.
There is not the slightest doubt that the great majority
of the reformers were loyal men, who simply desired to
cure some of the political evils that were retarding the
progress of the country. But their opponents gave them
credit for no sort of virtue. Ostracised, vilified, persecuted
and prosecuted, it is no wonder that chagrin, anger, and
despair of better things seemed to drive them into actual
The leader of the rebels in the western part of the
Province was Dr. Charles Buncombe. A native of the
United States, he settled in Burford shortly after the war
of 1812, and received a license to practice medicine in 1819..
He soon became a prominent man in the community. He
was appointed a member of the Provincial Medical Board
in 1832, and in 1834 was elected to the Legislature. He
was one of the first to seek improvements in education,
and with Doctors T. D. Morrison and Wm. Bruce, was ap-
pointed on a commission to inspect the condition of schools
and colleges. Dr. Hodgins, in his "Educational System of
Ontario," says : "The year 1836 is noted in ovir educa-
tional history for the efforts put forth vmder the direction
of the Legislature by a trio of doctors (Duncomtae, Morri-
son and Bruce) to inspect and improve our common school
system. They brought in an elaborate report, and append-
ed to it a voluminous bill, in which it was proposed to
grant $60,000 per annum for the support of these schools."
Of course the report got no further than the Assembly at
THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON. 33
The same year Duncombe went to England with a peti-
tion to the Imperial Government in the interests of poli-
tical reform. On his return, when it was found that no
remedy was likely to be provided, being in sympathy with
the reformers, when their plans had been matured in To-
ronto for an armed outbreak, he was urged by Mackenzie
to lead the movement in the west. He reluctantly con-
sented— recognizing the difficulties in the way and the doubt-
ful prospects. Communicating- with his radical associates
in Oxford, Middlesex and Norfolk, he endeavored to organize
the forces of dissent. But the majority of them, so far as
the Ijondon district was concerned, held aloof, and failure
was assured from the beginning. Most of the people in the
Town of London and the tovviiship were supporters of the
Government, and the few who sympathized with the reform-
ers were not prepared for actual rebellion. In the southern
townships of Westminster, Yarmouth and Southwold, the
Reformers were in the majority; but even of these very few
favored rebellion. It is doubtful if Duncombe ever had as
many as 300 under his command, and they disbanded and
dispersed as the militia approached.
Duncombe escaped. For a month he lay concealed in
the house of his sister, Mrs. Schennick, about a mile south
of London. As the vigilance of the militia abated, his
friend, Chas. Tilden, living near Amhorstburg, visited him
in his hiding piace and proposed that he should attempt to
leave the country in the disguise of a woman — a disguise
which his smooth round face and slight build rendered
feasible. They started in the depth of winter (January,
1838), stopped over night at the house of a friend on
Hitchcock Street, London (now Maple Street), and pursu-
ing their journey next day arrived safely at their destina-
tion, crossing the river at Marine Citj-, Mich.
The Conservative element of London was intent on sup-
pressing dissent. John O'Neil headed an Orange brigade
to drive out to wherever a meeting of Reformers was held
and break it up if possible. Lawrence Lawrason and Col.
Burwell were also leaders in these raids. But on one oc-
casion at Nixon's, in Westminster, the so-called rebels were
prepared for them, and they had to retreat in disorder.
Then, of course, they called on the authorities for aid.
Sheriff Hamilton was loyal enough; but he seems to have
been lacking in enthusiasm, or doubtful of the wisdom of
pursuing men who had committed no act of rebeMion; or,
as some thought, he was constitutionally timid. At all
34 THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON.
events, he had to be spurred on — even to the extent of
threatening him with the anger of the Government.
Harris, Askin, Lawrason, and their associates, did the
spurring effectively. Between them all they induced the
sheriff to call out the militia and pursue the rebels ; large
numbers were captured and imprisoned — including men who
were not rebels at all. They scoured the country and ar-
rested people on suspicion alone. London jail, which then
consisted of some damp, dismal cells, under the court
house, was crowded. At one time not iess than forty
political prisoners were, huddled together in this mediaeval
dungeon. The wholesale and indiscriminate arrests may be
judged by the following fact : In Lindsay's "Life of Mac-
kenzie" there is given a list of names of those taken into
custody as rebels in the London district prior to the final
invasion from Michigan in 1838. Out of 164 so arrested,
97 were discharged by the magistrates without trial ; of the
remainder who went to trial, 28 were either proven inno-
cent or discharged by the judge ; 7 only were convicted and
banished. Some few were liberated on bail. Seven guilty
men out of 164 arrests shovved that the greater number
were taken on suspicion alone. Only one — Alvira Ladd,
Dennis O'Brien's brother-in-law, was condemned to death;
but he was subsequently pardoned.
But while these prisoners escaped with their lives, the
fate of some were painful enough. Of the number who were
gathered up from the southern townships, many, as I have
already said, were simply arrested on suspicion. The bulk
of the population consisted of loyal Scotchmen (with the
exception of a few who had come in from the United
States), who wanted neither independence nor annexation —
only reform. But that did not free them from pains and
penalties. Let me give a specimen case :
John Grieve was born in Roxboroughshire, Scotland, in
1808. When eight years old he came out with his father,
who settled on the third concession of Westminster. Llere
John married and established his home ; an honorable and
religious man, and a good citizen, but like his neighbors,
an advocate of political reform. He never joined the in-
surgents, nor took up arms, but at a logging bee one day
he spoke strongly against the evil courses of the ruling
jiowers. That was enough to bring him under suspicion.
His language was reported, and Capt. Robson, of London
Township, drove out with a constable and arrested him.
THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON. 35
He was turned into prison with the rest of the suspects.
Here for six months he lay, awaiting trial. I have seen
a letter he wrote his wife, under dale of January 4th,
183S, an old time-worn sheet, yellow with age; but the ink
as black and the writing as distinct as though written yes-
terday. And so he said to his wife, dating his letter from
London jail, January 4th, 1838 :
My Dear Wife :
I am informed by the magistrate that I, with other
prisoners, will be taken to Toronto immediately; the hand-
cuffs are now a-making for us, and we expect to start to-
morrow. I do not know for what purpose they are taking
us; but I was told by Mr. Lawrason that we would prob-
ably be tried before we were brought back. I have no idea
when that time will be; but do not be disheartened my dear
Jane, but trust to a kind Providence who ordereth all
things well, that we will again enjoy domestic happiness
together. My heart is with you though I be far away.
Little Ann, poor thing, will forget me; but you will men-
tion me sometimes to her. Above all, as soon as she is
capable of imderstanding anything, speak to her of her
Heavenly Father. Remember while I am gone there is a
double duty devolves upon you.
(Private affairs follow. Nothing about politics, of
course, save indirectly in his closing words) :
I wish that all my friends at this critical juncture may
take good heed to their way, and walk strictly according
to that which they consider their duty.
And so he signs himself.
Your affectionate husband,
At his trial nothing could be proved, and he was dis-
charged. But his health had broken down under confine-
ment. Gray-haired and feeble, an old man while still in
his youth, he went to his home and died in less than two
By 1888 the rebellion appeared to have been totally
quelled. A couple of the leaders had been executed in To-
ronto; but Mackenzie, Duncombe, and their associates, had
escaped to the United States. The colonists had shown
their loyalty in no uncertain manner, and common sense
should have, taught the most recalcitrant radical that armed
resistance to the British crown was both futile and foolish.
36 THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON.
But some of the exiled Canadians, with their sympathizers
in the States, kept up a continual agitation. A society for
the deliverance of Canada was formed. Subordinate
branches, termed "Hunter's Lodges," were organized. Prob-
ably from 15,000 to 20,000 people were connected with
this scheme. Plenty of money was provided by friends of
the movement, and preparations for the invasion of Can-
ada were made, with the connivance of the authorities of
the United States.
The threat of invasion was promptly met by the Cana-
dians, and militia regiments (partly volunteers and partly
drafted) were organized. London was not backward in this
instance. A battalion of four companies (two from Lon-
aon, and one each fromBayham and Yarmouth) formed the
"Home Guard." Fortunately, they were not required to
leave home. A British officer, Capt. Thos. H. Ball, was
given command. The other officers from London were :
Captains — John Wilson and William McMillan.
Lieutenants — H. C. R. Becher and John Jennings.
Ensigns— Sterne Ball and Thomas Ball.
Paymaster — William Robertson.
Adjutant — Ross Robertson.
Surgeon — Dr. McKenzie.
Quartermaster — Freeman Talbot.
The men were enlisted for eighteen months; but were
discharged before the time expired.
The invasion of the Americans was confined to two
raids — one at Prescott and the other at Windsor — both of
which were disastrous failures. The raiders were promptly
dispersed, many of them captured, and their leaders sum-
marily executed. At Windsor the raid was marked by
heartless brutality and serious damage to the property of
the unresisting Canadians. But justice was swift and
stern. Four of the prisoners at Windsor were shot by
orders of Col. Prince, and the remainder were sent to Lon-
don for trial.
These men were not brought before the ordinary courts,
but were tried by a court martial appointed by the Gov-
ernment for that purpose, and consisting of Col. Bostwick,
President ; Col. Perley and Geo. W. Whitehead, of Burford ;
Major Barwick, of Blandford ; Col. James Ingersoll, and
Major Beale, of Woodstock, judge advocate. The court sat
in London from December 23rd, 1838, to January 19th,
TTIE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON. 37
1839. There were 44 prisoners placed on trial, and all
found guilty except one. Only a comparatively small num-
ber, however, were executed ; the majority were either ban-
ished or pardoned.
As to the persons who met their fate at the hands of
the law in London, historians are not in harmony. Kings-
ford, Dent and most writers say there were seven, though
their names are not all given. Judge Ermatinger, in his
"Talbot Regime," gives five by name. Some of the older
citizens with whom I have spoken are positive there were
nine. The most reliable information I have been able to
obtain is from the records, of the court martial in the Cana-
dian archives. From there we learn that six were executed
in London. They were the following :
Hiram Bing Lynn, aged 26, from the United States; on
January 7th, 1839.
Daniel Davis, Bedford, aged 27, from Kippen, Canada ;
on January 11th.
Albert Clarke, aged 21, from the United States; Janu-
Cornelius Cunningham, aged 32, from the United States;
Joshua Gilliam Doane, from Upper Canada, and
Amos Perley, from New Brunswick, on February 6th.
The following were transported : Samuel Snow, Elizur
Stevens, J. Burwell Tyrrel, .John Seymore Guttridge, James
Milne Aitchison, John Sprague, Robert Marsh, Oliver Cran-
dall, Riley Monson Stewart, Henry V. Barnum, Alvin B.
Sweet, James Peter Williams, Wm. Nottage, John Henry
Simmons, Elijah C. Woodman, Chauncey Sheldon, James
Dewitt Jerro, Michael Morin.
The following were subsequently discharged : Robt. Whit-
ney, Orin J. S. Mabee, Joseph Grason, Stephen Meadow,
Harrison P. Goodrich, John Charter Williams, Daniel Ken-
nedy, Joseph Horton, Ezra Horton, Cornelius Higgins,
Charles Reed, David Hay, Wm. Jones, Israel Gibbs Att-
wood, David McDougall, Geo. Putnam, Wm. Bartlett and
Trueman Woodbury was ordered to be discharged, but
before the order arrived he had escaped — apparently the
only one of the number who was able to elude the vigilance
of his jailer.
38 THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON.
The solitary acquittal was Abraham TiSany. The ages
of 29 of the 44 persons are given. Of these, 10 were 20
years and under — one being only 15 years old ; 10 were be-
tween 20 and 30 years of age; 6 between 30 and 40; and
only three over 40. Nothing shows more clearly the fact
that many of the active rebels were only boys, who had no
conception of the serious nature of their conduct.
It may be of interest to read the terms of the death
warrant ordering the execution of the condemned men :
" Government House, January 29th, 1837.
" James Hamilton, Esq., Sheriff, London District, London :
" Sir, — I have the honor to transmit to you, by com-
mand of the Lieutenant-Governor, three warrants for the
execution, respectively, at London, of Cornelius Cunning-
ham (on Monday, February 4th), Joshua Gilliam Doane
and Amos Perley (on Wednesday, the 6th), pursuant to the
sentence of the court-martial therein stated. His Excel-
lency directs that the warrant be publicly read before the
prisoners at the time and place of their execution. You
will, moreover, have the goodness to acknowledge their re-
ceipt by the first post, in order to obviate the necessity of
transmitting to you the exemplification usually forwarded
in cases like the present. I have the honor to be, sir, your
most obedient humble servant,
" M. MACAULAY."
Misguided and mistaken these men may have been, but
some of them, at least, met their end as brave men should.
John Davidson, a farmer in Stanley Township, driving
into town in January, 1839, overtook a lady walking into
London, and gave her a ride in his sleigh. At the hotel
where he stopped the hostler found a letter in the sleigh,
which, it is supposed, was dropped by this lady. It was
written by Joshua Doane to his wife. Now that all par-
ties have left this earthly scene and the letter has no per-
sonal interest, it may be given as an incidental record of
the past :
London, January 27th, 1839.
Dear Wife, — I am at this moment confined in the cell
from which I am to go to the scaffold. I received my sen-
tence to-day, and am to be executed on February 6th. I
am permitted to see you to-morrow, any time after 10
o'clock in the morning, as may suit you best. I wish you
to think of such questions as you wish to ask me, as I do
THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON.
not know how long you will be permitted to stay. Think
as little of my unhappy fate as you can; as from the love
you bear me, I know too well how it must affect you. I
wish, you to inform my father and brother of my sentence
as soon as possible. I must say good-bye for the night,
and may God protect you and my dear child, and give you
fortitude to meet that coming event with the Christian
grace- and fortitude which is the gift of Him, our Lord, who
created us. That this may be the case, is the prayer of
your affectionate husband, JOSHUA G. DOANE.
So, whether on the scaffold, or in the cell, or on the
sick-bed, or in exile, the rebels and their sympathizers
passed away ; and the black hand of the executioner dropped
the curtain on the last act of the tragic drama of 1837.
The close of the rebellion saw the beginning of a new
era in London's progress. It was made a garrison town.
The regiments quartered in the London Garrison were : The
32nd and 83rd, from 1838 to 1841; the 1st Royals (Col.
Wetherall) and the 14th, 1841 to 1843; 23rd Royal Welsh
Fusiliers, 1843 to 1845; 82nd, 1845 to 1846; 81st,. 1846 to
1847; 20th (Col. Home), 1847 to 1849; and the 23rd a
second time in 1849, remaining till the troops were with-
drawn in 1852. There was, also, always a battery of artil-
lery forming part of the garrison.*
There had previously been no garrison in this section of
the Province, 'and when the military were required they had
to be marched from a distance. The authorities now
thought a different arrangement desirable. Col. Talbot's
interest in St. Thomas might have been supposed sufficient
to secure the garrison for that town. And, in fact, during
the rebellion, the Thirty-fourth Regiment, under Col. Airey
(Talbot's nephew) was stationed there. The regiment was
first lodged in a wooden barracks, which was subsequently
burned ; and it then found quarters in an old Methodist
church. Had St. Thomas shown any disposition to pro-
vide accommodation for the garrison, it might have been
permanently located there. In default of this, however,
London was selected. A large tract of land was reserved
for the purpose, bounded on the west by St. Paul's Church
property, south by Dufferin Avenue, east by Waterloo Street,
*I am indebted for this record of the garrison troops to Major
Gorman, of Sarnia, whose father was Librarian of the 23rd.
40 THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON.
and north by a line a little below Piccadilly Street. Sub-
sequently there was quite a dispute between the town and
the garrison over the portion now called Park Avenue.
This had been closed up from the time the barracks v/as
built, but the town claimed that the street must jbe opened,
and had to open it almost by force of arms. Civil and
military forces faced each other, the troops actually firing
on the citizens, though with blank cartridges. But the
civil power prevailed in the end.
The Government appropriated $150,000 for the erection
of a barracks. This consisted of long rows of two-story
frame buildings, extending east and west, on the north part
of the reserve, and north and sovith on the east side. The
south-western part was vitilized as a parade ground. The
barracks proper was surrounded by a stockade — two rows
of posts placed close to each other, with holes through
which the guns of the garrison could meet the attacking
forces. The parade ground was closed in with a stump
fence, the roots of the stumps facing outward.
The principal contractor was EM. Matthews. He was
an Englishman, who came to London in 1835, and took the
leading place in town as a builder. He resided in a frame
house on the north-east corner of Dundas and Richmond
Streets, the shop being behind the house. His son-in-law,
Pomeroy, was his manager, and also had a sawmill in Dor-
chester, floating his lumber down the river to London.
Matthews subsequently committed suicide. One of the sub-
contractors was John Stewart, who came from the North
of Ireland in 1837. His son, Samuel, was »vell known as
a local tinsmith in later years.
In January, 1838, the Thirty-second Regiment, Col.
Maitland, was sent to the new garrison. The men were
quartered in O'Brien's unfinished brick building, while the
barracks was under completion; some being accommodated
in temporary tents erected on the eastern side of the re-
serves. Most of the officers were billeted in private houses,
in one of which Col. Maitland died shortly after.
Col. Home's name became identified with the city for
many years. There was a big hill on the northern part of
the reserve, between Pall Mall and Hyman Streets. This
he cut down, and formed an embankment around a large
reservoir supplied by the creek. This bore the name of
Lake Home, and for many years was the center of attrac-
tion for the citizens on the Queen's Birthday. Games of
THE SETTLP:MENT of LONDON.
all kinds, boating, walking a greasy pole stretched across
the water, and various other sports, supplied the amuse-
ments with which to celebrate the day. All that remains
now of Lake Home is the low plot south of the C.P.R.
The garrison not only benefited the town by the addi-
tion to business of all kinds resulting from the building of
the barracks, and the maintenance of the troops, but it
gave a decided impetus to social life. In the early days
of the village the people had few amusements. For the
women there were occasional gatherings in the church, a
visit, and tea with a neighbor ; sometimes a quilting bee ;
perhaps a dance once in a while. But most of them had
enough to do in attending to their housework; and social
functions were on a very limited scale.
The men certainly found more time for dissipation than
the women, and it took the form of drinking whiskey.
Hotels, so-called, were numerous; two or three at every
crossroad, and several in the block. It was the same in
the country as in the town. On the Goderich road, some
65 miles in length, there were in 1840 just 40 taverns.
Everywhere could be seen the peculiar tavern sign, a post
15 to 20 feet high; on the top a frame four or five feet
square, and inside the frame, swinging from the upper bar,
the square sign, with its special device illustrating the name
of the establishment. The Hope Hotel, on the corner of
Talbot and Dundas Streets, with its graceful figure resting
against an anchor, and gazing eagerly into far-off space ;
the Rob Roy, on Dundas and Richmond Streets, with the
kilted Highlander ; the Prince of Orange, on Dundas and
Clarence, with the figure of that noted gentleman on his
white horse, his sword pointing out the fleeing Jacobites ;
and so on. These oid tavern signs, once so familiar, are
now seen no more, and the taverns are fast following the
signs into oblivion.
Distilleries also were numerous in those days. Prom-
inent citizens, like Major Schofield, O'Brien, Goodhue, and
others, manufactured whiskey and sold it cheap, sometimes
as low as 25 cents a gallon.
I have quoted previously Mrs. Jamieson's description of
social life, summed up in the words : "A good deal of
drunkenness and profligacy." We must admit the drunk-
enness. It was a fashionable foHv. If she heard of a cer-
42 THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON.
tain magistrate being picked up in the street "dead drunk,"
he was no worse than the' old-time statesmen of England, or
the United States, who have been known, after finishing up
a banquet, to sleep off the effects of it on the dining-room
floor. Commissioner Jones, of the Canada Company at
Goderich, being asked if a certain person was not drunk at
his house, answered : "Upon my life, I don't know. I
never saw a man drunk at my house. I'm always drunk
first myself." Total abstinence was at a discount. There
were some few abstainers, and some temperance societies,
but they were not popular. Col. Talbot, in a notable
speech to his neighbors on St. George's Day, 1832, could
not find stronger language in which to condemn the radicals
of the time than by declaring that they had "commenced
their work of darkness under cover of organized damned cold-
water drinking societies." And it is said that the Colonel,
as the patriarch of his settlement, vised to summon all his
neighbors to his house on Sundays, where he read the
Church service for their benefit, while to ensure their
prompt attendance at prayers, the whiskey was passed
around after the benediction.
It is not likely that the advent of the military discour-
aged the drinking cvistoms of the early Londoners ; but it
gave a stimulus to society life that was perhaps needed.
Sports of all kinds were orga,nized;, horse-races, cricket, and
other athletic amusements; theatrical plays and balls; and
society functions, became a feature of London life. Here
the young ladies met the black coats and scarlet jackets —
danced, flirted and married. The scarlet color, of course,
was the favorite. Miss Lizars found a jingling ode, said
to have been written by a commissariat officer about this
time, in which a young lady is supposed to have proclaimed
the joys of London society. A couple of verses will be
Sing the delights of London society —
Epaulette, sabretache, sword-knot and plume ;
Always enchanting, yet knows no variety —
Scarlet alone can embellish a room.
While spurs are clattering,
Flirting and chattering.
Bend the proud heroes that .fight for the crown;
These are the joys of a garrison town.
THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON. 43
" Little reck we of you black-coated laity ;
Forty to one upon rouge aga'inst noir ;
On soldiers we lavish our favors and gaiety,
For the rest we leave them to feel desespoir.
We have for such canaille as these but a frown ;
While llirting with fusiliers,
Smiling on grenadiers —
These are the joys of a garrison town."
But it .was not all "beer and skittles." The people were
not indifferent to the more serious things of life. Education
was not neglected. Many of the early settlers, being arti-
sans and farmers, may not have had much book learning,
but they tried to provide for their children. There were no
free public schools then; and fees had to be paid — generally
about $1 a month— and in some cases even higher.
The first school was in the building that had been erect-
ed for a temporary court house — Peter Van Every being the
teacher. I have not been able to obtain any special infor-
mation of this pioneer educator; though he lived in London
for several years, and was the owner of property on the
north-east corners of Richmond and Dundas Streets. Mr.
Rutledge was the next to open a school ; then came John
Hawkins, about the present market, and E. A. Talbot, on
the corner of Queen's Avenue and Richmond Street. Some
of the earij' teachers were not of the best quality — people
who were too lazy and too ignorant for any other busi-
ness. Talbot, however, was a well-educated man. Another
good school was that of Miss Stimson, daughter of one of
our early physicians — a cultured lady. Aided by her niece.
Miss Grannis, she started a school in a log house of one
room, in which a desk, two or three low forms, and a
chair for the teacher, constituted the entire furniture, and
a few books and slates the educational apparatus. Subse-
quently she moved to a house on the corner of Talbot and
Carling Streets. It is said she occasionally punished the
bad boys by putting them in the cellar, where they consoled
themselves by stealing the teacher's preserves.
Perhaps the most notable school in these days was that
of William Taylor, an Irishman, from Trinity College, Dub-
lin, and an experienced teacher, who began on Talbot Street,
just south of York. Then he moved to the north side of
44 THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON.
Horton Street, near Talbot. Though a good teacher, his
academic actions were conducted with an absolute disregard
of manners and dignity. The schoolroom was an addition
to the house proper, and served the double purpose of an
academy and a kitchen. Taylor attended to his duties in
what he may have considered full dress— for he always wore
his hat in school— and alternated instruction in three "R's"
with the care of the cooking-stove; with one hand holding
the tawse and with the other manipulating the frying-pan.
The boys relieved the tedium of study by putting corked
bottles of water on the stove, shying the most convenient
missiles at the teacher's hat, sticking bent pins in his chair,
and indulging in the time-honored practice of studious
youths of all ages. Then the teacher would pursue the
boys with a gad and thrash them impartially.
The first attempt at state aid tor educational purposes
in Canada was in 1819. By an Act of Parliament, the
Lieutenant-Governor of the Province was authorized to ap-
point five trustees for each district, who were to choose a
teacher (subject to the Governor's approval), for a district
grammar school, the Government allowing £100 per annum
for his support. These were not free schools, of course.
An act fixed the location of the school at the judicial seat
of the district, so that in the London district it was first
kept at Charlotteville, but in 1808 was removed to Vit-
toria. By Act 7, Wm. IV., Chap. CVI., the school for the
London district was removed here, and opened in the old
building where Van Every first taught. And there it re-
mained until grammar schools lost their distinctive char-
adter and became high schools and collegiate institutes.
The first grammar school principal was the Rev. Francis
Wright, but I have been imable to discover anything definite
about him, beyond the fact that he had the charge of the
school until the Rev. B. Bayley was appointed.
Newspapers are supposed to be educational institiitions,
and London was not without its number. I have already
mentioned Talbot's Sun. After it ceased to shine, the
Patriot was issued by George Burchard, in 1833; but only
lived for a few months. About 1835, Col. Busteed, who
had been Secretary to the Governor of St. Lucia, W. I.,
published the True Sun for a short time. In 1835 Thos.
and Benjamin Hodgkinson came from Port Burwell, and
established the London Gazette. In 1836 Edward Gratton
sent out a few numbers of the London Times ; and in 1839
THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON. 45
Talbot commenced the Freeman's Journal, and C. IL Hack-
staff the Canadian Inquirer. The Gazette was the Con-
servative paper, while the Inquirer advocated the views of
Religious instruction was, if anything, more advanced
than secular. Dignitaries of the Anglican and Catholic
churches visited the district in its earliest days, and
itinerant clergymen, both regular and irregular, gave
spiritual aid to the pioneers to the extent of their ability.
I have already made some brief reference to them, which
may here be extended.
Rev. Mr. Cronyn's advent, in 1832, provided the first
permanent settlement for his church. Though there were
not more than 400 people in the village — if that many—
quite a few were Church of England peopia ; while there
were many more in I>ondon Township. The lands held by
Bishop Stewart, on Dundas and Ridout Streets, were dis-
posed of, and the present site of St. Paul's Cathedral se-
cured. Here the first Anglican Church was built — a frame
structure, with a square tower — facing south on Queen's
Avenue. It was opened in 1835 ; destroyed bj^ fire on Ash
Wednesdav, 1844, and was succeeded bv the present cathe-
There were a number of Catholics among the pioneers
of London — Dennis O'Brien, John Cruickshank, P. Smith,
J. Henry, Dr. Anderson, and others. O'Brien was the
leader, and his house was always open for the use of the
visiting clergy. But this did not satisfy the ambitions of
a people always zealous for their faith. A building was
soon erected on the south-west corner of Richmond and
Maple Streets, and in 1834 it was dedicated by Father.
Downie, of St. Thomas. Humble in appearance ; built of
logs, with an earthen floor, it was yet one of the first
church edifices duly consecrated to divine service, and served
the needs of its worshippers imtil destroyed by fire in 1851.
I have mentioned the little Methodist Church, built in
1833, but I have no definite information in regard to it.
While the Wesleyan Methodists, as they were then called,
held continuous service in the village from its earliest days,
it was not until 1839 that the first substantial building
was erected, on the south-east corner of Talbot and King
Streets. Here they w^orshipped until their removal, some
years later, to Richmond Street, nearly opposite the site
of the City Hall, and the old building passed into the hands
46 THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON.
of the Baptists. Among their earfy ministers here were
Morris, Stoney, Whitney, Newburg, Carson, Bennett and
The first Presbyterian congregation was gathered to-
gether about 1832, under the Rev. John Proudfoot, father
of the late Dr. Proudfoot, who succeeded him in the charge
of his church. This was a U. P. (United Presbyterian)
body. It was some few years before they were able to
erect a building of their own— a frame structure — located on
York Street, west of where the Tecumseh House now
stands, which was used until its destruction by fire in 1859.
A notable feature in the history of this church is the fact
that here — probably for the first time in Canada — instru-
mental music was employed in the service of a Presbyterian
Church. For many years after they commenced accom-
panying the singing of the Psalms with an old-fashioned
melodeon, the " Kist of Whistles," was looked upon
by other Presbyterians with holy horror.
There were some Presbyterians, however, who considered
themselves as belonging to the Established Church of Scot-
land, and gradually withdrew from the First Church, hav-
ing the Word expounded by missionaries and visiting
clergymen. They finally became strong enough to form a
distinct body, and, I think, a Mr. Eraser, a banker, was
their principal elder. But it was not until 1842 that they
secured from the Government a lot on the north-east cor-
ner of North and Waterloo Streets ; proceeded to erect a
church, and to call the Rev. John Scott as minister. This
body became St. Andrew's Free Church — the loyal adherents
of the Church of Scotland withdrawing, but claiming the
building. To induce them to surrender their claim, the
Government granted them the Gore, on Richmond Street,
in 1859, where they erected the cruciform building, still
standing, and became what was called the "Auld Kirk,"
with Rev. Francis Nicol as minister. And so there were
three Presbyterian denominations in London, until the
union of 1875.
Other religious bodies began to develop in the early
days — Universalists, Congregationalists, Baptists, etc.; but
their definite organization dates to a later period.
In this connection a certain transaction may be men-
tioned, which is not only historical, but illustrative of the
early law of land tenure. There were a number of New
Connexion Methodists here in the later thirties, and they
THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON. 47
thought they would like to have a building of their own.
Col. Talbot had charge of the assignment of crown lands,
and he gave them the corner where the public library is
now located. They commenced to build; but their funds
were insufTicient, and the building remained for a time un-
finished. As there seemed no prospect of the Methodists
going on with their work, the officers of the garrison asked
Col. Talbot to transfer the lot to them, which he did.
Now the Colonel's method of dealing with applicants for
crown lands was a very simple one. He took his map, and
with a pencil marked the applicant's name on the lot se-
lected. This was all the title the owner had until his fees
to the Government were paid, and he received his patent
for the land. Until this was done, the Colonel controlled
the situation ; and if the land was not improved to his
satisfaction, he rubbed the holder's name off his map, and
wrote down someone else's. It was in accordance with this
system that he erased the name of the Methodist New Con-
nexion, and inserted that of Mr. Raynor, the commissariat
officer, who did not delay taking out his patent. The
church building was finished as a theatre — opened in 1840 ;
and on its little stage for many years striitted the amateur
actors of garrison times — including some who are grave and
dignified citizens of London to-day. When the troops left,
the property remained in the name of Mr. Raynor, its legal
owner, and when he died, a well-known citizen purchased it
from his widow for a nominal sum.
The growing importance of the settlement now rendered
it necessary that the haphazard system under which its
affairs had been managed, should cease. Municipal insti-
tutions, as we know them, did not exist in the earliest days
of the Province. The Governor-in-Council practically had
charge of everything. The Parliament for the Province was
summoned in 1792, and that body took general oversight
of municipal matters, delegating to the board of qtiarter
sessions some minor details. Then an act was passed,
providing for the organization of township municipalities,
by a vote taken at a meeting of the householders, with
authority to elect certain township officers with limited
powers. On the first Monday of January, 1819, the first
town meeting for London Township was held at the house
of Joshua Applegarth, a short distance west of " The
Forks." The summons for the meeting was issued by two
magistrates. Col. Talbot and Daniel Springer. Applegarth
was elected first clerk ; Richard Talbot and Christopher
Oxtoby, assessors ; John Young, John Gety and Ezekiel
48 THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON.
Gilman, roadmasters; Thomas Routledge and Daniel Hines,
poundkeepers ; Wm. Asket and Thomas Askins, wardens.
And by these officers and their successors the settlement of
London was governed for a time.
But under this system local affairs were far from satis-
factory. The streets were unimproved, and ornamented
with stumps ; sidewalks, where they existed at all, con-
.sisted of a few planks. The fire department was a bucket
brigade — every householder being required to own a leather
bucket, and when a fire occurred, to fall into line with his
neighbors, and pass the buckets from hand to hand. The
lighting of the streets at night was effected by the tallow
candles shining dimly from the windows of houses, and the
brighter lamp from the tavern door; while the belated citi-
zen navigated the streets with the aid of a tin lantern,
punctured full of holes in a more or less ornamental pat-
tern. The waterworks started with a pump at the court
house square, supplied by those springs that have given
our aldermen so much trouble in keeping the west end of
Dundas Street properly paved. Later, tanks were con-
structed at some of the street corners for fire-fighting pur-
poses; while the domestic supply came from the old-fash-
ioned bucket dipped into the old-fashioned well.
Sir James Alexander, a military officer, stationed in
London a few years later (1842), when matters had some-
what improved, thus describes the looks of the little town :
"Among innumerable stumps of trees, blasted by fire and
girdling, were seen wide streets at right angles to each
other. These were for the most part bordered by scat-
tered wooden houses, of one and two stories, and many had
vegetable gardens about them. Stumps of trees were seen
in all directions along the street, and some might have
been found in the cellars and kitchens of the houses. In
the principal thoroughfares — Dundas Street — where the best
stores are, the houses were adjacent, and some few of
If this is how the town looked in 1842, it is evident
that public improvements were a pressing necessity in 1838,
when the people began agitating for a separate municipal
government. Under the existing system it was evident no
improvements could be made. Occasionally a London man
was elected to office. John Jennings was a warden in
1838. And in appointing roadmasters and poundkeepers,
local men were selected for the territory between " The
THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON.
Forks." The township council was not disposed to raise
mvich money for the benefit of the village. In 1837 about
£,7 10s. were expended for a pump on the court-house
square, and for some drains and other repairs on the
streets. But, as a rule, what few local improvements were
made had to be provided for by local subscriptions. And
while some of the settlers were public-spirited, many were
not disposed to open their pockets for the public good. On
one occasion, it is said a meeting was called to consider
the advisability of purchasing a fire engine. Some were
favorable; but Thomas Parke, M.P., effectually settled the
agitation by pointing out that it would be much cheaper
for the people to go to a fire just as soon as it com-
menced, at which time a few buckets of water would ex-
In the meantime, the settlement had outgrown the limits
of the original survey. Mr. Goodhue had purchased a por-
tion of the Kent farm, north of the original survey, and
laid it out in May. 1830, as far north as Hitchcock (now
Maple) Street. Mr. Kent followed this example, and his
survey of the land from Hitchcock to Kent Street bears
date of May 28th, 1832. East of the settlement, people
began to take up land at an early date, and this portion,
extending east to Adelaide, and north to Huron Streets,
was finally laid out between 1838 and 1840, being known
for many years as the "New Survey." The first plan of
this part of our city is on record in the Crown Lands De-
partment, and bears the signature of William Hawken, of
the Surveyor-General's office, and the date of May 11th,
The new survey, however, was not completely opened
up. There were three reservations embraced in this area.
The first was the Schofield property, extending from Dun-
das Street northward to about 100 feet above Princess
Avenue. Its western boundary ran between Colborne and
Maitland, and the eastern between Maitland and William,
When this was subsequently surveyed, the streets opened
through it were much narrower; which accounts for the
jogs in this part of the city. Then there were the Glebe
lands of the Church of England, which extended from Dun-
das Street, south to Trafalgar, and from the line of what
is now Burwell Street, east to Adelaide. The third was
the military reservation previously described.
West of Richmond and north. of Central Avenue was also
at this time unsurveyed. But it was decided in obtaining
50 THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON.
a charter for the village to take in all this contiguous ter-
ritory— the proposed boundaries being from Huron Street,
south to the river, and Trafalgar Street, and east from the
river to Adelaide.
The result of the movement was the passage of an Act
of Parliament, on the 10th of February, 1840, to "define
the limits of the Town of London, in the district of Lon-
don, and to establish a board of police therein." The area
asked for was allowed ; and all placed imder the control of
the board of police — exclusive only of the military reserva-
The board was constituted " a body, corporate and
politic, in fact and in law,", by the name of "The President
and Board of Police of London."
The new town was divided into four wards ; and the
lines of division doubtless give some indication of the loca-
tion of the residents. St. George's Ward took in all north
of the center of Dundas Street, about two-thirds of the en-
tire area ; St. Patrick's Ward extended from the south side
of Dundas to the north side of King ; St. Andrew's, from
the south side of King to the north side of Bathurst; and
St. David's, from the south side of Bathurst to the south-
ern boundary of the town.
The Board of Police was to consist of five persons, one
to be chosen from each ward, and these four to elect the
The power of the board, while not very extensive, yet
provided for a far greater measure of self-government than
the people had previously enjoyed. It could raise money
by taxes, not exceeding four pence on the pound, a town
lot not to be rated above £5. It could make by-laws
regulating victualling houses and slaiighter-houses; the sale
of hay, wood and bread; immoderate driving, fire protec-
tion, street repairs, and generally to control nuisances, and
to preserve order.
By authority of the Act the sheriff held the first election
on the first Monda^y in March, 1840, with the following
St. George's Ward — Geo. J. Goodhue.
St. Patrick's Ward— Dennis O'Brien.
St. Andrew's Ward — Simeon Morril.
St. David's Ward— John Balkwill.
THE SETTLEMENT OF LONDON. 51
The board organized by the appointment of James
Givens (afterwards judge), a fifth member; Mr. Goodhue was
chosen President; Alex. Robertson, Clerk, and John Harris,
These men have all been mentioned in the course of this
paper, with the exception of the Clerk, who appears to
have been a shiftless sort of person. Two brothers were
running a tinshop, and* were men of good repute, but Alex-
ander must have been of a lower type; made a very poor
Clerk, and only held office for a year.
But with five of the leading citizens in control, London
made a good start as a municipality. With a population
of over 2,000. with leaders characterized by energy and
business abiiity; and with favorable conditions, its pros-
pects for the future were bright, and the hopes of the
people were sure to be realized.
THE RT. REV. BENJ. CRONYN, LL.D.
Bishop of Huron, 1857-1871.
BY VERSCHOYLE CRONYN.
On a chill November evening, in the year 1832, along
the bush road, following the Indian trail between the
Niagara and Detroit Rivers, just south of the present City
of London (now known as the Commissioner's Road), there
toiled in a rough lumber wagon a weary, travel-stained
family of immigrants, consisting of the Reverend Benjamin
Cronyn, then just thirty years of age, his wife, and two
young children. Circumstances and surroundings more de-
pressing could hardly be conceived. After several weeks'
voyage, in an ill-found sailing vessel from Dublin, they had
arrived in Quebec, and were now pursuing their weary way
to the Township of Adelaide, to bring the ministrations of
the church to the settlers there, who had been represented
to Mr. Cronyn before leaving home, as numerous and wholly
without the services of an ordained minister. For days
this solitary wagonload had jolted along through the nar-
row, stumpy road, far from home and friends, in the midst
of a wilderness, strangers in a strange land, night falling
fast, and no apparent refuge near, the father's heart was
[*The Right Reverend Benjamin Cronyn, first Bishop of Huron,
son of Thomas Cronyn, Esq., of Kilkenny, Ireland ; born there
11th July, 1802 ; educated at Kilkenny College and Trinity Col-
lege, Dublin ; B.A. in 1822, Divinity Prizeman 1824, M.A. 1825,
D.D. 1855 ; ordained Deacon by the Lord Bishop of Raphoe in
1825, and Priest by the Archbishop of Tuam on Trinity Sunday,
1827. His first Curacy was in t'he County of Cumberland, Eng-
land, under the Rev. Carus Wilson; afterwards at Kilcormick,
County Longford, Ireland, where he married Margaret Ann Bicker-
staff, daughter of J. Bickerstaff, Esq., of Lislea, and from whence
he came to Canada in 1832. Was Incumbent at London from
1832 to 1866 ; elected first Bishop of Huron at London, Canada,
8th July, 1857 (the first Episcopal election held in Canada) ;
consecrated at Lambeth, England, by His Grace the Archbishop
of Canterbury on 28th October, 1857 ; died at London, Canada,
on the 2nd September, 1871.]
THE FIRST BISHOP OF HURON.
sorely anxious for his delicate wife and little ones. From
a solitary traveller they happened to meet, he inquired
whether any shelter was to be found in the neighborhood,
and then for the first time heard of the Village of " The
P''orks" (London), distant about two miles to the north of
where they were. Thither they made their way, down the
Wharncliffe Road and over Westminster bridge; said to be
the first bridge ever erected across the Thames in that
neighborhood. They put up at a hotel, dignified by the
title of " The Mansion House," kept by one John O'Neil,
situated on the north side of Dundas Street, just west of
where Perrin's factory now stands.
London then contained about four hundred inhabitants.
It was the year of. the cholera, and, in consequence, much
excitement prevailed amongst' them, many having fled to the
woods in dread of the contagion. So utterly worn out was
Mrs. Cronyn that it was decided to rest there for a time.
The arrival of a Church of England clergyman becoming
known to the inhabitants, all were summoned to service on
Sunday, in a frame building on the south-west corner of
the court-house square, which building still stands ; it
originally served the purpose of the district court house.
It is said that it was first erected where the court house
now stands, and was moved to its present position to
make way for the erection of the court house. I had al-
ways understood that 'the first house erected in London was
by Peter McGregor in 1826, near the corner of King and
Ridout Streets, but in "Annals of the Colonial Church" — a
work published in Quebec many years ago — the Honorable
and Reverend Dr. Stewart is said to have reported that on
Sunday, July 28th, 1822, he ministered to a congregation
of nearly 250 persons in London, and the same misleading
statement having reappeared in "The Bishops in Canada"
— a work by the Reverend Canon Mockridge, of Toronto — I
accordingly wrote Mr. Freeman Talbot, of Strath-Carrol,
Assiniboia East, now in his 92nd year, who settled in the
Township of London in 1818, and has a vivid recollection
of these early years, suggesting that perhaps it was in the
first church at St. John's, London Township, Dr. Stewart
had officiated in 1822. He replies as follows :
"South Qu'Appelle, April 11th, 1902.
"My Dear Friend, — Though now in my ninety-second
year, I am both able and willing to answer every question
put to me in your letter of April 7th.
THE FIRST BISHOP OF HURON.
" The frame of St. John's Church was erected on lot
17, the 5th concession of London Township; was shingled,
roughly sided, and a temporary floor put in, and also very
temporary windows; so the church stood in 1823, but no
further work was done until late in the forties, though
your father frequently had services, there. About 1845 or
1846, Mr. Brough employed John Hasket, a carpenter, to
complete the church. He laid down a proper floor, erected
a pulpit and pews, and I acted as auctioneer in selling the
pews. We gave due credit to every original subscriber who
had paid his subscription many years before. And the
subscribers for the completion of the church, who came in-
to the township much later, were perfectly satisfied with
the arrangement. Old Mr. Fralic (long since dead) donated
two acres, on the north-east corner of his lot, for the
church site and burial ground.
" As early as 1822, Mr. Mcintosh, the clergyman at
St. Thomas, preached twice in the barn of the late William
Geary, on lot 15, 5th concession of London. The Reverend
Edward Boswell also held frequent services in the Geary
barn. ]\Ir. Geary was an English farmer, and was em-
ployed by an Irish nobleman to superintend the agricul-
tural works on his estate. While so employed he married
a Miss Jones, who was the daughter of an Episcopal
clergyman, and she always had a strong influence in at-
tracting Episcopal clergymen to hold services in the barn.
Frequent baptisms were held in the same building, and it
was in that barn that the Rev. Dr. Stewart ofliciated in
" In 1826 Peter McGregor, a little Scotch tailor, who
had married a Miss Pool, in the Township of Westminster,
came to the town site, just surveyed, and erected a very
small hotel on the second lot, west of Ridout Street, front-
ing on King Street. Year after year, as business in-
creased, Mr. McGregor added to his hotel, until he was able
to entertain forty or fifty visitors from day to day.
"I see by a report in a London paper of a speech made
by Judge Hughes, where he speaks of a Mr. McCann being
an early hotelkeeper. A great mistake. William Hale,
Dr. Lee, Joseph O'Dell, John O'Neil and Boyle Travis con-
ducted from time to time the two leading hotels in Lon-
don : the Robinson Hall and the Mansion House. In after
years Peter McCann erected an hotel just across the street
from the Cathedral. Peter was keeping that hotel at the
time I left London, in 1856.
56 THE FIRST BISHOP OF HURON.
" In the month of August, 1832, the British Govern-
ment sent out four hundred discharged soldiers and pen-
sioners, many with large families, to settle in the Town-
ship of Adelaide on free grants. Houses were built for
them under the direction of the late Col. Roswell Mount,
at the time Member of Parliament for Middlesex. I erected
thirty-two of these houses, by a contract with Col. Mount.
At the same time came, I believe, with these men your
father, the Blakes, the Radcliffs, the Currans, and many of
the former officers of the discharged soldiers. Your father
had intended to settle in Adelaide, but the people of Lon-
fion persuaded him to remain with them. On the 8th day
of January, 1833, your father married Freeman Talbot and
Ann Eliza Clark, the first couple ever married by your
father in Canada, as you will see by the records to-day in
St. Paul's Cathedral. Your obedient servant,
" FREEMAN TALBOT."
On the Monday after Mr. Cronyn's first service, men-
tioned above, he was waited upon by a deputation of the
congregation, begging him to remain with them as their
pastor ; and immediately on this, came entreaties from
many couples in the neighborhood to be married, some of
whom had for years lived together as husband and wife,
but had never had an opportunity of marriage by an
ordained minister. So, guided by one named Robert
Parkinson, familiar with the bush, on horseback, they fol-
lowed for days blazed lines through the woods, stopping at
the .settlers' shanties, the parson performing many mar-
riages, oftentimes uniting the parents and baptizing their
children. Previous to Mr. Cronyn's arrival in London, it
had been intended to erect a church on the north-west
corner of Dundas and Ridout Streets ; at least such is the
tradition — certainly several burials were made in that lot —
but on application to the Government, Mr. Cronyn secured
the grant of the block of land upon which St. Paul's now
stands, and in 1835 had erected thereon a frame church
facing the south. Thus described in a book published in
1836 : "The Episcopal Church, if we except the spire,
which is disproportioned to the size of the tower, is one of
the finest, and certainly one of the neatest churches in the
Provincr." Between the Church and Dundas Street was a
dismal swamp, full of >fallen trees and imderbrush, where the
frogs held high carnival in summer.
Among the early settlers in the Township of Adelaide
were manv of education and refinement, whose antecedents
THE FIRST BISHOP OF HURON. 57
unfitted them for the rough life of the bush ; consequently
great distress soon prevailed amongst them, and during Mr.
Cronyn's first winter, on one occasion he, with his friend
Colonel Curran, started on foot from London to Adelaide,
carrying a quarter of beef strung from a pole between them,
for the relief of friends among settlers there. Soon the
load grew heavy, necessitating frequent stoppages for rest.
Night came on, and the wolves numerous, fierce and daring
in those days, scenting the raw beef, howled uncomfortably
near. To add to their troubles, they lost the trail in the
dark, and when about to abandon the beef and endeavor to
retrace their steps, discovered a light, and inaking for it
found a logger's shanty, where, stretched on the floor, with
feet towards a huge fire, the choppers slept. They hospitably
made room between them for the tired travellers, who laid
down and rested there for several hours, but were again on
the march long before daylight, furnished by the choppers
with a lantern, which for a time showed them the trail
and kept the wolves at a distance; but soon the light went
out and they again lost their path, the wolves howling
dangerously near, when they were discovered by some of
the settlers on the lookout for the expected succour.
Often have I listened to strange fireside tales by my
father and friends of their Adelaide experience. How they
used to sleei> on a straw tick, on a heap of brush for a
bedstead, in the corner of the shanty ; of the inconvenience
resulting from fowl roosting overhead ; how the bedtick
grew thin, and the brush underneath becoming painfully
present, was explained by the fact, that in order to keep
life in the solitary cow, she was being fed daily from the
straw-tick. And, again, the host explaining, that it was
not frequent washing of his night-cap that necessitated its
being hung out to dry, but simply because it was in it the
pudding had been boiled. And how at night they were
lulled by the howling of the wolves, which at times becom-
ing too noisy, the door of the shanty would be thrown
open and a shot fired in the direction of the nearest howl,
when silence would follow.
Soon after his arrival in London, my father was ap-
pointed to the parish of London and the parts adjacent.
And in 1836, on the creation of the Rectories of St. Paul's,
London, and St. John's, London Township, was appointed,
by patent from the Crown, Rector of both. The latter he
resigned in 1842, and that of St. Paul's in 1866. A fear-
less horseman, he almost lived in the saddle in the early
58 THE FIRST BISHOP OF HURON.
years of his ministry, endeavoring to accomplish the work
of his limitless parish, and being an expert swimmer, he
would, if the weather permitted, boldly swim his horse over
swollen streams that crossed his path. I have seen him,
on returning home after a particularly miry ride— he and
his horse bespattered with mud— unsaddle, and throwing off
all but shirt and trousers, swim the horse in the river to
wash off the mud. On one occasion, when driving into
town from his residence on the hill, near where Mount St.
Joseph's Orphange now stands, with Mrs. Cronyn and a
son and daughter— aged thirteen and nine, respectively— in
the carriage, the horse took fright at a hole in the bridge
over the medway, and backed the vehicle off into the river.
He and Mrs. Cronyn leaped out on to the bridge, but the
children went down with the horse and carriage into about
eight feet of water. The horse struggled to the iog pier
of the bridge, where he was able to keep his head above
water, but the children, who had been thrown from the car-
riage, went to the bottom. Mr. Cronyn, without even re-
moving his hat, waited until the water cleared sufficiently
to enable him to see objects in the bottom, when he dove
down, and, taking a child on each arm, swam ashore with
them. My sister was insensible, but soon recovered.
In 18S6 Sir Francis Bond Head, then [Lieutenant-Governor
of Upper Canada, visited London; he and his suite on horse-
back. When leaving, Mr. Cronyn and other prominent citi-
zens accompanied them for some miles out of town, the
parson's faithful hoimd following When crossing the Oak
Plains, south-east of London, a deer sprang out into the
open glade, the hound in full cry, and the whole cavalcade.
Governor and Parson, joined in the himt, and had an ex-
citing chase until, the deer crossing the river, tlie scent was
In 1837, Mr. Cronyn, having visited Ireland, was return-
ing, bringing with him a number of thoroughbred dogs for
friends here, which, on the road between Hamilton and
London, were being conveyed in a covered wagon following
the stage. The weather was bitterly cold at Brantford,
and the stage proprietor, with rough and blasphemous
language, refused to permit a thinly-clad negro to ride in-
side the stage. Mr. Cronyn remonstrated ineffectvially, and
then suggested that the negro might turn v,in with the dogs,
which he gladly did. This was Josiah Henson, the original
of Mrs. Stowe's "Uncle Tom," just escaped from slavery.
THE FIRST BISHOP OF HURON. 59
Often afterwards did he personally thank his benefactor of
I have sometimes heard the identify of Henson with
Mrs. Stowe's Uncle Tom questioned, but in 1876 the late
Rev. W. Harrison Tilley, first Rector of the Cronyn Memo-
rial Church, wrote Mrs. Stowe on the subject, and I have
here her reply, as follows :
" Amherst, Mass., May 15th, 1876.
" Dear Sir, — I take pleasure in endorsing with all my
heart that noble black man, Josiah Henson, whom I believe
to be worthy of all the aid, and help, which any good man
may be disposed to give. It is also true that a sketch of
his life, published many years ago by the Mass. Anti-
Slavery Society-, furnished me many of the finest concep-
tions, and incidents, of Uncle Tom's character. In parti-
cular, the scene where he refuses to free himself by the
murder of a brutal master.
" The real history of Josiah Henson. in some points
goes even beyond that of Uncle Tom, in traits of heroic
manhood. He once visited me in Andover, and personal
intercourse confirmed the high esteem I had for him. I
lieartily hope he may have friends to assist him in his
difficulties. Yours very truly, H. B. STOWE."
To add some of my own more personal recollections of
these times, I will begin with the year of the Rebellion,
1837. I was then in my fifth year. We resided on lot
15, in the 3rd concession of London, on the brow of the
hill, over the north branch of the Thames, before referred
to. All male adults had been summoned to serve in the
militia, and all firearms requisitioned for their use. My
father was absent in Ireland, on urgent family affairs. My
mother surrendered to the militia all firearms in her pos-
session, with many musket bullets cast by henself. We lived
in hourly apprehension of invasion, for rumors were rife of
approaching bands of rebels, and it was thought that any
night we might be burned in our beds. So, in order that
we might all die together, my mother had us, her four lit-
tle ones, to sleep in her room. Our only wagon-road then
to town was around by Ijondon West, over Blackfriar's
bridge. I distinctly recollect, in the winter of 1837 and
1838, the first Sunday after the arrival of the 32nd Regi-
ment of foot, our coming to church in a lumber wagon
drawn by oxen. When we reached Blackfriar's bridge the
THE FIRST BISHOP OF HURON.
oxen were left fastened by a chain under the bridge, and
we walked from there to the church; we children doubtless
thinking less of the service we were going to, than of the
soldiers we expected to see there, whom our youthful ex-
pectations had pictured as men of gigantic stature, in
gorgeous uniform, with towering plumed helmets. I shall
never forget our sad disillusion, on seeing instead a body
of men, seemingly small of stature, in gray winter over-
coats and forage caps, marching up the church steps. The
frame church, as I have said, faced the south, and had a
high flight of steps in front. This church was for many
years the largest Auditorium in town, and witnessed some
notable gatherings. I was present there in the early forties
at an oratoria given by Braham (the then world-renowned
basso) and his son, just rising into fame as a singer. Lon-
don being on the high road between Buffalo and Detroit,
many distinguished artists used to tarry and perform at
London, which otherwise would not have been of sufficient
population to attract them.
The Military Reserve, between Waterloo and Richmond
Streets, extended from Dufferin Avenue (then Bond Street)
on the south, to Carling's Creek, on the north. 'Tis said
this twenty-four acres was originally intended as agricul-
tural show grounds, but was handed over to the military
at the time of the Rebellion. The first infantry barracks
were entirely of logs; to the east of Wellington Street,
about where Wolfe Street now is. Then followed frame
barracks, west of Wellington ; the Artillery and Commis-
sariat, at the north-east angle of Wellington and Bond.
For years London had two Regiments of the Line and a
Battery of Artillery, and later a Company of the Military
Immediately on the arrival of the troops, guards were
posted on the several bridges and roads entering the town,
and no one was allowed to pass after nightfall who could
not give the countersign. I remember the heavy gates on
Blackfriar's bridge, erected by the Royal Engineers. When
summer ,came and the river could be forded in many places,
these became a laughing stock, and were removed.
In those early days the country was a paradise for
sportsmen. The Thames and its tributaries swarmed with
fish, including speckled trout, and the woods abounded with
game. I saw my father shoot a deer in a field of grain
close to our residence ; and the howling of the wolves at
THE FIRST BISHOP OF HURON'.
night could frequently be heard. They were very destruc-
tive to sheep and young stock. Nine dollars per scalp was
the reward for their destruction — a great source of revenue
to the Indians.
Speaking of the Indians : They then formed a large
portion of the population of this western peninsula, and
used to come to town in numbers to trade for their peltries
and baskets. Sleigh loads of deer for one dollar per car-
cass was a common thing. Wild turkeys, quail, partridge
and pigeons abounded within the present limits of the City
of London. The flight of wild pigeons in the spring of the
year would at times aimost darken the sky; a belt of them,
for hours at a time, extending from horizon to horizon.
The Thames was a great highway for the Indians; proces-
sions of bark canoes passing and repassing constantly, and
in the spring of the year lumberers, on rafts of pine timber
from the Dorchester pineries, with their row of long sweeps
at each end, would pass quickly on the way to Lake St.
Clair. With the spring run of fish in the river, tons would
be taken with seines and dip-nets, mostly suckers, but many
mullet, bass, pike, and occasionally sturgeon and maski-
nonje (lunges). In 1844 I witnessed the killing of a bear
in the river, just under the court house, which had been
chased from the woods into town.
Shortly after London becoming a garrison town, my
father was appointed chaplain to the troops. There were
usually two Regiments of the Line and a Battery of Artil-
lery in garrison. His Sunday duties were a drive of four
miles, from his residence in London Township to the mili-
tary service in .St. Paul's at 9 a.m., then followed the usual
11 o'clock service ; after that a ride of seven miles, by the
old winding road to St. John's, for an afternoon service,
and back to St. Paul's for the evening, with week-day
services in cottages and schoolhouses throughout the coun-
During the Rebellion of '37 a large number of prisoners
were confined in the London jail — about one hundred at one
time, cruelly overcrowded. Seven of them were condemned
and hung, and many banished to "Van Diemen's Land."
My father attended the unfortunates in their last hours,
and accompanied them to the gallows. It was a terrible
harrowing time, particularly as he felt most keenly the un-
due severity of their sentence.
62 THE FIRST BISHOP OF HURON.
The frame church spoken of was destroyed by fire on
Ash Wednesday, 1844, and the foundation of the present
building was laid with great ceremony, by the Right Rev.
John Strachan, Bishop of Toronto, on St. John's day that
year. The military turned out in force, and the artillery
fired a salute of twenty guns. Pending the completion of
the new building, the congregation worshipped in the old
Mechanics' Institute; a frame building, then standing on the
court-house square. It was during service in this build-
ing, on a Sunday in April, 1845, that the cry of fire an-
nounced-the commencement of the great fire, whereby about
150 houses were destroyed. Chief Justice Robinson was
present ; the psalms of the day were being read. The exit
from the hall was by one rather narrow staircase. On the
alarm the people near the door began to go out ; Mr.
Cronyn kept on reading, and the Chief Justice responding
in clear, deliberate tones, until the entire congregation had
quietly withdrawn. Thus, by the presence of mind of the
Rector and Chief Justice, doubtless a panic, and probably
serious accident, was averted. The fire had commenced in
the Robinson Hall (the principal hotel at that time), just
across the square from where they were at service. The
Chief Justice's quarters were at the hotel, and his unselfish
conduct in endeavoring to avert a panic, nearly cost him
his baggage, which he had barely time to secure, and at
some risk. With a squad of artillerymen under him, the
Rector all day, until late in the night, worked at emptying
the houses of their furniture ahead of the fare, which pur-
sued them with relentless fury. Alas, in many instances,
licking up the piles of furniture, which the salvagers
thought they had left at a safe distance frona danger. At
nightfall the Rector reached his house tired out, with his
Sunday suit very much the worse for wear from the rough
work in which he had been engaged.
London, Ont., 15th April, 1902.